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I’m asking about usage of “refer” and “refer to”.

Can one say “refer to the letter”?

Is “refer the letter” enough?

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Refer to the letter basically means to check the letter for information. Refer the letter means send or forward the letter to someone.

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Refer can mean that someone is referring to something, usually for information (e.g. refer to a letter, refer to Wikipedia, refer to the manual etc) and it can also mean to send some person to someone else for further investigation. E.g. "I will refer my patient to a heart specialist", or "I'll refer you to an hand-writing expert to analyse the letter". However, I cannot think of a valid usage case for referring an object in this way e.g. "I will refer the letter to a hand-writing expert".

  • 1
    That's a perfectly good use case. "We will refer your inquiry to our Customer Service Department". Exactly the same construction, and quite common. – Brian Hitchcock Jun 5 '15 at 12:02

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