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What is the correct answer to put in the space marked (d)? The answer key provided to me says "for", but my instinct says it is "to". Would someone please help me?

Sanjit Ray wanted to shoot a scene with a tiger for his film. He decided ____(a)____ approach Bharat Circus Company to get a tiger. He took ____(b)_____ appointment to meet ____(c)____ manager. The manager greeted Ray warmly and sent him ____(d)____ Mr. Thorat, the ring master. He was ____(e)____ South Indian.

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In the context of the entire paragraph, 'for' can certainly be correct, although 'to' also fits grammatically. The meaning is quite different depending which one you use.

sent him for Mr. Thorat

Means that the manager 'sent him to get Mr. Thorat'. It is a slightly unusual and idiomatic turn of phrase, which was, I believe, much more common in the past.

Anybody who reads Victorian or Edwardian novels will probably be familiar with the phrase 'send for the doctor', which means 'go and get the doctor', but I can't think of many circumstances where it would be said today.

If you have to use all five words provided to you (the, for, an, a, to), though, this is the only place it can potentially be used.

sent him to Mr. Thorat

is much more straightforward, as you recognised.

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    It's very clear now. Thank you for your excellent explanations. – mahmud koya Feb 23 at 3:39
  • I dispute that "for" can be correct. First, it's bizarre to suggest that a visitor would be assigned the task of fetching a member of staff. Second, you'd say "... sent him to get", not "sent him for". Yes, you can send for somebody, but you can't send somebody for somebody. – David Richerby Feb 23 at 11:49
  • You can send somebody for somebody. "I sent Jeeves for the doctor" is the sort of phrase that springs to mind. It may not make a whole lot of sense, but we're trying to help a student with grammar exercises, not assess the quality of the writing. Likewise I don't think the missing article is relevant either. – fred2 Feb 24 at 1:06
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The exercise here is rather low quality. For example, one would almost always talk about "the Bharat Circus Company" but the article is missing. "He took [an] appointment" makes no sense to me as a native speaker: one makes appointments.

The proposed answer of "for" is wrong and you are right: it should be "to", giving "... sent him to Mr Thorat", meaning that the manager told Ray to go see Mr Thorat. Probably the person who set the exercise is confusing two usages.

  • To send for somebody means to summon them. For example, "The manager sent for Mr Thorat."

  • To send somebody for something means to tell the person to go do/get that thing. For example, "The doctor sent me for an X-ray."

But you can't send somebody for somebody. If you wanted to say that the manager told Ray to summon Mr Thorat, you'd say something "The manager sent him to get Mr Thorat." But surely that's not the intended meaning: Ray is a guest at the manager's office and it would be very strange to assign a guest the menial task of fetching an employee.

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