What is the difference between send something somewhere and send something in somewhere? For example:

You should defintely send the tape to a music company.

You should defintely send the tape in to a music company.

  • I think you might have asked more than once about what's effectively the same aspect of English. There are many, many contexts where it's perfectly okay to include optional additional prepositions. So long as both versions (with and without the extraneous preposition) are fairly common, they'll usually carry the same meaning. But we always tend to look for / create semantic distinctions wherever there are multiple ways of phrasing something. So eventually, people start to differentiate Ringo Starr of The Beatles from Ringo Starr out of The Beatles. Jan 2, 2021 at 17:46
  • In your case, also You should definitely send the tape out to a music company and You should definitely send the tape off to a music company (not to mention over to, up to, and possibly others). To all intents and purposes, they're all the same. Jan 2, 2021 at 17:48
  • Thank you for the comments! I'm confused though because in the movie "Back To the Future" Jennifer said "send the tape in to the company" Jan 2, 2021 at 18:35
  • I hope you meant you were confused, not that you're still confused. Preposition to needs to be present, because it indicates "movement" (from addressee to company). An additional optional preposition (in, out, over, up,...) simply adds an element of clarification (perhaps partly or entirely metaphorical) regarding direction / orientation of travel. So perhaps Send it up to them might imply they're more "elevated" (you do lowly music-making, they do "higher status" publishing). Or Send it down to them to imply they're the lower-status party! Jan 3, 2021 at 12:43
  • ...or up / down might simply be because they're located further North / South, OR are at a higher / lower elevation, or whatever. Jan 3, 2021 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


For what it's worth, "send in" carries a connotation of "submitting," like "submitting paperwork" or "submitting an entry for a contest." In the context of "Back to the Future," this would make sense, since Jennifer is suggesting that Marty submit his tape to a music company for them to listen and possibly offer him an opportunity. Omitting "in" here would be perfectly fine as well, but would not carry this connotation of "submitting."

You wouldn't use "send in" for other situations like

You should send the letter in to your grandmother.

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