I want to know the differences between these two sentences.

  1. send a mail to me.
  2. put a mail to me.

Does the send and put changes the meaning of the sentence?


2 Answers 2


I looked up put in the NOAD dictionary, and found this definition:

move to or place in a particular position

Based on that definition, I can understand why you think these two words might be synonymous, but they are not!

The verb put is used in a local context (that is, rarely much further than a room or house), whereas send is used in more of a long-distance context.

For example, for put, we would say:

Put the sofa over in that corner.
Put your dirty plate in the sink.
Put your trash in the garbage can.
Put that laundry basket back downstairs next to the dryer.

whereas for send, we might say:

I am going to send these cookies to Aunt Erma out in Arizona.
Please send me your application via email.
Let's send a ship to the Mediterranean Sea.
We need to send more medical supplies to Uganda.

With mail, mail is almost always sent, unless we are are talking about the individual letters, which can be put anywhere after they have arrived:

I just picked up the mail; where do you want me to put it?
Oh, please put the mail on the desk over there. Thank you.

Of course, English being English, it's not always that straightforward. In the 1960's, was the goal to
put a man on the moon, or to send a man to the moon? According to my guidance, send would be
the better word. So why did John F. Kennedy say in a speech:

I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon.

I think that's because send sometimes has a connotation of being a one-way trip. We don't expect Aunt Emma will return those cookies, or that Uganda will send back the medical supplies. That's what president Kennedy was emphasizing in another speech, when he said:

...of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

The verb put can imply putting something down gently or safely, whereas sending a person to the moon says nothing about getting the astronaut back safely.


Put means to actively cause something to be in a certain place. The subject of put is the one doing some action causing that to happen.

Send means to cause something to be in a certain place via something else. You send a letter because you are not the one actually giving it to someone, but you are expecting someone else to actually do that (mail service, etc.) Send X would also be appropriate if X moves itself towards the place you want it go - e.g. "I sent a carrier pigeon to his house" or "I sent him to look for it over there."

Also: you send things to people, but you cannot put things to people - you can only put things in/at/{insert preposition here} places.

In the office, Mark put the letter in Michael's box

Mark had a letter in his hand and dropped it in Michael's box.

In the office, Mark sent the letter to Michael's box

Mark did not drop the letter in Michael's box - the mailroom guy actually did it.

Some special phrasal verbs with put (some of these work with people):

put up with - to tolerate (often applies to a person)

put down - to insult or belittle a person

put away - to place things where they belong when not being used (put up can mean this too), occasionally can mean to eliminate or get rid of.

put out - sometimes means to be willing to have sex if the subject is a person.

Some special phrasal verbs with send:

send out - to disseminate

send away - to dismiss

send for - to summon or request the appearance of

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