I read we can say:

1) He is sent for.

Okay, then can we say:

2) He is sent a student for?

Like, of course, we can say:

3) A student is sent for him.

But the idea is to make "he" the main figure in the sentence.

Then if we can say those sentences we can improve the idea:

4) I was sent a present to by her


5) I was sent a present by her to

Does it work?


I was going to comment under Sam's answer, but decided this probably needs it's own answer.

to send for

Is an English phrasal verb (https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/send-for)

"Send" is the verb it's based on, but "send for" has a completely different usage. Therefore you can't break the phrase up into the verb/preposition components and expect it to still work.

The rest of your sentences are using the verb "send" - which is not the same meaning as "send for".

Starting to master phrasal verbs is one of the jumps from beginner to intermediate English use, and here's a good starting list:


Most of the English learners I've known are quite surprised by how they've understood every word in a sentence, but the meaning still escapes them. It's usually because there's a phrasal verb being used. (and yes, they can annoyingly have nouns inserted between the verb and preposition/adverb to make them even more confusing!).

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  • Yeah, I read Sam's answer(or the Sam's answer?) but what about the rule that it's better not to end a sentence with a preposition? How to change "He is sent for" not to have the preposition at the end, then? – Michael Azarenko Feb 16 '19 at 15:02
  • @MichaelAzarenko don't think of the sentence as having a preposition on the end, but that preposition is part of the verb. Maybe it would help if you thought of the verb as "sentfor" (one word - except it's not that simple). The combination turns it into a verb - a phrasal verb. It's one of the quirks of the English language. Here's a more interesting link to why they even exist: homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~cpercy/courses/6361lamont.html – Snowy Oz Feb 17 '19 at 11:04
  • Oh, I think, i see it. It's better not to put a preposition at the end of a sentence if the preposition isn't a part of a phrasal verb, right? But if it's a prt of it, it's completely okay, yes? Like, two examples: 1) Who did you send for? = in the meanng of "summon". Yes, the 'for" is at the end but it's a part of the phrasal verb and being at the end is okay. 2) Who did you send for? = (who did you send it for?). Here the verb "send" is an alone verb and "for" isn't in its structure. Here it would be better to say "For who (or even "for whom") did you send? Yes? I understood right? – Michael Azarenko Feb 20 '19 at 7:57
  • For 1) yes, you nailed it. 2) yes, you got the idea, but if you're talking about someone "fetching" something ("it") then you might just say: "Who did you send to fetch/bring/get it?" or "Who did you send?", if the "it" is already clear in the previous statement (ie, the topic has been set). The shorter "Who did you send?" is sufficient, even if it feels a little incomplete. My main point is that "send for" does not equal "send", so you can get stuck by trying to play with the "send" part. – Snowy Oz Feb 24 '19 at 0:49
  • If instead of "Who did you send for?" in the meaning of "Who did you send it for?" I can say "Who did you send?", then how to distinguish the latter sentence from "Who did you send?" like directly. I sent a box, a car, two slaves, a rock and somebody else. "Who else did you send?" – Michael Azarenko Mar 2 '19 at 9:58

I read we can say: 1) He is sent for.


A few comments. "sent for" often appears in the past tense, for whatever reason, and so let's arbitrarily change everything to the past tense, just so it's clearer.

"He was sent for"

Okay. Next, in this case "sent for" means "summoned" or almost nearly "invited", which is a more common word.

"He was invited"


Okay, then can we say: 2) He is sent a student for?

Rewording this, as mentioned above

He was a student invited. *


He was invited a student. *

These are not correct. "by a student" fixes it.

Like, of course, we can say: 3) A student is sent for him.

Here, instead of "He was sent for...", you are saying "A student was sent for...". The object of the verb has changed. I think this is no longer the phrasal verb "send for". It is the standard verb "send". Like "A student was sent, to get the package."

But the idea is to make "he" the main figure in the sentence.

That could be "He was sent for, by the principal." However, it's sometimes considered good writing style to use the active rather than passive voice. "The principal sent for him." would be clearer.

Then if we can say those sentences we can improve the idea: 4) I was sent a present to by her OR 5) I was sent a present by her to *

Almost. Why "to"?

"I was sent a present by her" is alright. It would be better in the active voice "She sent me a present."

Further explanation - please also see Snowy Oz's answer about phrasal verbs. Essentially, there are two completely different words being discussed here, and getting mixed up.
1. send.
2. send for.
These look like exactly the same word, with the second one just having a preposition, right? No, that isn't the case. Like "standing" and "outstanding" are two different words.

  1. send. The standard verb. "He sent the package". "He sent the package for/to John." In this case, "for" or "to" are normal prepositions.
  2. send for. The phrasal verb. "He sent for John." The word "for" is not a preposition. It's a particle. From https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/send-for : "I've sent for the doctor. [VERB PARTICLE noun]" . Not [VERB PREPOSITION noun]

Some of your examples are using "send" (either with or without a preposition like "to" or "for"), and some of your examples are using "send for", which is the phrasal verb. This is similar to a German separable verb. "anrufen" may become "rufen ... an". The word breaks into two parts. "send for" is like "anrufen". One word breaking into two parts. The confusing thing is just because you see the word "for" appear, still doesn't guarantee which version of the verb it is. It could be the regular "send" and the preposition "for". Or it could be the phrasal verb "send for". And they are each different.

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  • 1) It's more usual in Past but anyway it can be both in Present and Future and all other Tenses? 2) What if we have the dialogue: A: What did you send him for? B: i sent for a doctor How to understand: whether I omitted "somebody" who I send for something(or something for?) or I didn't send anybody for anyone and summoned(sent for) a doctor myself? 3) Then can I say "A student was sent for for her by me"? It should be perfectly correct 4) "A student was sent, to get the package" - why are you using a comma here? 5) "He was sent for, by the principal." - why can't it be without the comma? – Michael Azarenko Feb 16 '19 at 14:39
  • 6) "The principal sent for him" - if we have only this part, how to distinguish it from: 1) the principal summoned him 2) The principal (who was sent for him) ... It's like "I see a person killed there. "A person killed there" - it's passive or active? Because it's not "I see a person, killed there". In russian we use commas and it's absolutely clear but here... it's totally ambiguous – Michael Azarenko Feb 16 '19 at 14:54
  • 7) Because "She sent me a present" makes me sick. We can say: "I sent a box" It would mean the box was sent. But how can we say "I sent her a box". It's like "She was sent" and a random word - "a box", "a cat", "a sofa", "a corpse". It's stupid. "She was sent a box...". I think it would be logically "She was sent a box to" because if it will be "She was sent to a box" it will mean "the box is a recipient and she is a parcel." – Michael Azarenko Feb 16 '19 at 14:56
  • @MichaelAzarenko , updated the answer. – Sam Feb 17 '19 at 8:16
  • @MichaelAzarenko, "sent her" should be interpreted as "sent to her". An indirect object. Not a direct object. If there are very many questions, it might make sense to open multiple smaller questions on this site. – Sam Feb 17 '19 at 10:23

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