“Send” vs. “Sent”: Learn The Difference And Send Your Confusion Packing

You probably know to use sent instead of sended, but do you know why?

In this article, we will demonstrate how and when to correctly use send and sent, explain why send is considered an irregular verb, and provide examples of both words used in sentences.

Quick summary

Send is an irregular verb. Send is the base form, which can be used in the present tense, the future tense (will send), and as an infinitive. Sent is the past tense form (as in I sent you a message yesterday) and the past participle form, which is used to form the present perfect tense (has sent), the past perfect tense (had sent), and in passive voice constructions (as in The package will be sent upon receipt of payment).

When to use send or sent

The verb send is an irregular verb. Send is the base form of the verb, which can be used in the present tense, future tense (will send), and as an infinitive.

For example:

  • I send my parents a postcard whenever I visit a new place.
  • The scouts will send a signal when they reach the forest.
  • The princess decided to send the knights on a heroic quest.

The past tense and past participle form of send is sent. A verb is typically considered to be an irregular verb if its past tense and/or past participle is formed without using the standard -ed or -d endings used in regular verbs. This is the case with send: instead of sended, the past tense and past participle is sent.

Sent is the form of send used when using the past tense:

For example:

  • We sent the packages last week.

Because sent is also the past participle, it’s used with the auxiliary verbs have, has, and had to form the perfect verb tenses. The verb phrase has sent is used with a third person singular subject (with the exception of singular they). The phrase have sent is used with any other subject, including first person singular/plural, second person singular/plural, and third person plural.

For example:

  • The mayor has sent a delegation to the event.
  • Parents have sent multiple complaints to the principal.

What are the most common types of verbs in English?

Like all other past participles, sent is also the form that’s used in the passive voice. When used this way, it’s used with the various forms of the helping verb be.

For example:

  • The romantic poems were sent by a secret admirer.
  • The results will be sent to you by mail.

Verbs similar to send

Several other irregular verbs that also end in -end follow the same pattern as send.

For example, these three irregular verbs follow the same exact pattern, with the past tense and past participle ending in -ent:

present tense past tense past participle
bend bent bent
spend spent spent
lend lent lent

However, not all verbs that end in -end follow this pattern. Most are regular verbs that form the past tense and past participle simply by adding -ed, such as the verbs blend (blended), end (ended), tend (tended), and mend (mended).

Examples of send and sent used in a sentence

As a final send off, let’s look at different examples of how send and sent are used in sentences.

  • You can send tax forms by mail or submit them online.
  • Whale songs are thought to be a way to send messages to other whales.
  • Dennis sent his resignation letter last night.
  • My daughter sent Santa a letter asking for a pony.
  • I tried to send an email to customer service, but it was never actually sent due to connection problems.

See how much you have learned with our quiz

Satisfied with what you’ve read about these past tense forms? If so, head over to our quiz on these forms of the verb send and test yourself. You may surprise yourself with what you’ve learned!

Hungry for more? Learn when to use "eaten" vs "ate."

Previous Fire Up Those Conversation Skills With 100+ Conversation Starters Next Do You Know The Opposite Of Green?