When using verb tenses like “I sent,” “I have sent,” and “I had sent,” it’s essential to know the differences. Once you’ve mastered the major difference between these three tenses, you’ll know exactly which one to use in which situation.
Is It “I Sent,” “I Have Sent,” Or “I Had Sent” An Email?
“I sent” is the past simple tense saying that something was already sent. “I have sent” is the present perfect tense saying something was sent and has been completed in the present. “I had sent” is the past perfect tense saying something has been sent and completed in the past.
All three phrases are fine to use in an email; it just depends on what tone and tense you’re writing it. Make sure you don’t include the word “already” at the end of the phrase, as follows:
- I sent you the email already.
“Already” in this case is a jarring word that should be omitted – unless you’re specifically trying to emphasize the point that you’ve already sent an email to someone (you shouldn’t use this language if you’re talking to a superior as it can be seen as rude).
I Sent – Meaning & Usage
The meaning of “I sent” is to say that something was sent in the past. Generally, we use it to talk about something we completed in the past or something that’s happened frequently in the past. Either way, there’s no chance to act on it in the present.
Let’s go over some examples of how we might use “I sent.” It’s the most appropriate to use when we want to get to the point. It only needs the pronoun and the past tense verb “sent” to work.
- I sent you an email that I need you to action.
- I sent an email three days ago.
- I sent you a letter, but I haven’t heard back.
- I sent you some money for your birthday.
- I sent you everything you asked for.
As you can see, we’re talking about sending something that happened in the past. There’s no need to take it any further than that because it can’t be actioned in the future or present tense.
I Have Sent – Meaning & Usage
The meaning of “I have sent” is saying that we sent somebody something either in the immediate past (it just happened) or we’ve yet to actually send it and still need to action it in the present.
This is perhaps the most common use you’ll come across of the three phrases. It’s also the most appropriate one to use in a formal email because you’re letting someone know that you’ve only just sent them an email, rather than sending one in the past, which you’ve let them ignore for a while.
- I have sent you an email regarding the incident.
- I have sent it, just like you asked.
- I have sent it to you again with the attachment this time.
- I have sent an email regarding my resignation.
- I have sent them the purchase order number.
- I have sent you a message on Facebook!
- I have sent you a PM that I need you to answer ASAP.
- I have sent the documents to your mail.
- I have sent out the invitations for our wedding.
- I have sent you a cease and desist from my company.
As you can see, “I have sent” is used when we want to talk about something that happened in the past but is still affecting the present. Generally, someone is able to action the thing that was sent, which is why we include the auxiliary verb “have.”
I Had Sent – Meaning & Usage
The meaning of “I had sent” is that we sent something in the past and actioned it in the past. It means that nothing else can be done about the thing that we sent.
“I had sent” is the least popular choice of the three and the past perfect tense is one that doesn’t come up very often. Still, it’s important to see when we might use this.
- I had sent the application to them a few months ago but never heard back.
- I had sent you an email but assumed you weren’t interested.
- I had sent you the information, but you deleted it.
- I had sent you my invitation, but clearly, you didn’t want to attend.
- I had sent you everything you needed, but I doubt it was enough.
From these contexts, you can see that “I had sent” is used when something happened in the past and is no longer possible to act on. Generally, we include another clause or sentence at the end of it to establish what happened in the past that makes it impossible to act on it any further.
Should I Use “I Sent” Or “I Send”?
“I sent” is the past simple tense of the verb “to send” when we want to talk about sending something in the past. “I send” is the present simple tense, and we can use it when we’re talking about sending something in the present.
- I send flowers daily.
- I sent her flowers yesterday.
Should I Use “I Had Sent” Or “I Had Send”?
“I had sent” is the correct form to use when we want to use the past perfect tense. “I had send” is incorrect and uses the past tense “had” with the present tense “send.” It should not be used in this way.
Should I Use “I Have Sent” Or “I Have Send”?
“I have sent” is the correct form to use and is the present perfect tense of the phrase. “I have send” is using the incorrect tense form again and should not be used.
Alternatives To “I Sent,” “I Have Sent,” And “I Had Sent”
Finally, let’s look at some alternatives you might be able to use in place of these three sayings.
- I emailed
If you are specifically talking about an email, this is a great verb to use in its place.
- I forwarded
We can use this when we pass on information that was previously sent to us.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.