Grammar Rules for Emails. Send it!

This blog post is dedicated to our business English client Dennis T., who asked about the verb “send.” Thank you, Dennis!

Using the common little verb “send” can actually be quite tricky, both because it is an irregular verb and because of the D and T endings. In English, final Ds are often pronounced with a T sound, such as in the words watched, cooked, liked. Thus, the pronunciation of these words actually makes them harder to spell. Plus, this sound shift creates confusion about tense and when to use which form.

Practice saying send, sent, sent and exaggerate the D and T sounds. The T is plosive and produces a pop of air. The D does not pop. It is a heavier, darker sound. If the difference is not clear to you, try practicing these words:

dad, did, dude
tote, tart, toot

Now repeat these tense sample sentences with proper pronunciation–

Present simple
I send many emails everyday.

Present continuous
I am sending you an email right now, while we are on the phone.

Present simple for the future with will and going to
I will (I’ll) send the email in a second / in one minute / this afternoon / tomorrow.
I will (I’ll) send the package next week.
I am going to send (I’m going to send) the package on Tuesday.

I just sent the email.
I sent you an email this morning / 5 minutes ago / yesterday / last week.

Past continuous
I was sending an important email when the Internet went down.

Present perfect
I have sent hundreds of emails this week.

Present perfect continuous
Recently, I have been sending so many emails that I can write them really quickly.

Past perfect
I had just sent her a long email when she rang me.

Past perfect continuous
I had been sending so many emails that I decided to create a template to make it go faster.

But in order to master the simple little word SEND, we must understand tense rules. Let’s begin with the present simple tense.

The Rules – Present Simple
Use present simple to talk about schedules, habits, customs, repeated behaviors and scientific facts. We use this form to talk about things that are stable and NOT temporary. Things that were true in the past, are true now, and will probably be true in the future. We often use always or never with present simple sentences.

The train leaves at 6:00. The team meets at 9:00 on Mondays. The presentation begins at 11:00. The train departs at 4:05.
What time does the meeting begin?
We leave for the US tomorrow.

Repeated actions
I send my boss a report every day. I never eat lunch at my desk.
He never sends attachments with his emails.

We celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks. How do you celebrate New Year’s? I send holiday greeting cards (Christmas cards) every December.

Scientific facts
Water boils at 100 degrees. The earth orbits around the sun.

Verbs of state
— such as like, love, smell, want, need, prefer, know, suppose, mean, understand, remember, belong, fit, contain, consist, seem, realize.

NOTE! In spoken English, people sometimes break the rule about verbs of state, but you should not do that in written business communication. Thus, in casual conversation over dinner, you may say, “I am loving this fish! It’s delicious.” This is technically incorrect, but it’s becoming more common in informal spoken English and in advertising. Do you remember McDonalds, “I’m loving it” campaign?

But in a business email, please do not write, “We are liking your proposal.” ☹ Instead, write, “We like your proposal.”

I like our new office.
I prefer Apples to PCs.
I remember you from the last conference.
This report looks messy.
I recommend the café on the corner.
I realize now that I will never like my boss.

Use the present simple form of the verb with “to.”
When “to” proceeds the verb, you must use the present simple form.
I am going to send the email now.
I like to collaborate with my teammates on creative projects.
She loves to travel for work.
She likes to send emails with lots of emojis ☺.

Modal Verbs
Use present simple with modal verbs such as must, can, could, should, do, does, did.
We must send the complete report today if we want to keep the client happy.
They can send everything to my address and I will share it.
They could complete and send the review this week if they had more help.
We should send all the info before 17:00.
If I were you, I would send that to the entire team.
Would you send me a link to that article?
Do you send a report every week?
Does she send good meeting notes every week?
Did you send the notes last week?

Third person
Be sure to add S when you use present simple in declarative sentences with third person nouns & pronouns.
Stephanie always sends emails with perfect grammar.
He sends greeting cards to top clients on their birthdays.
Tom sends out lots of email with mistakes.

Can you fix these incorrect sentences?

1. I sends it now.
2. I sending it now.
3. I send it to your colleague now.
4. We send the final report this afternoon. (It is morning now.)
5. I send it while we are speaking.
6. I send it while we were speaking.
7. I send it just now / 5 minutes ago / two hours ago / yesterday / last week.
8. We sends it tomorrow to the entire team.
9. I am sending it every week on Friday.
10. Do you sent it now?
11. Did you sends it?
12. Can you sent it?
13. Were you senting it digitally or by post?
14. To sent it with DSL will be too expensive.
15. She send almost 100 emails every day!

This article was written by Brenda de Jong-Pauley and edited by Kerry Finlayson. Want to test your grammar knowledge? Take our FREE English test now. Or call us about private,  group, in-company and intensive Business English training. +31 20 823 0569

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