Difference Between Send and Sent

Send and Sent are two different tenses of the same verb and that is ‘send’. A verb refers to a word that states or asserts something about a person or a thing. A verb may tell us about what a person or thing is, what the person or the thing does and what is done to a person or thing.

Send vs Sent

The main difference between send and sent is that the former is the present tense of the verb ‘send’. The latter on the other hand, is the past tense of the verb ‘send’. The word ‘send’ is used in a sentence to refer to what a person or thing does. Whereas, the term ‘sent’ is used to give an account of what a person or thing is or what is done to a thing or a person.

Send vs sent

The word ‘send’ is mainly used to describe what a person or thing does. It is applied in a sentence that describes an activity happening at present. It means ‘to cause or order something or someone to go or be conveyed’. For example:

  1. Do send me a message when you are fully dressed.
  2. You should send your brother to a coaching class.

The term ‘sent’ on the other hand, refers to what a person or a thing is or what is done to a person or a thing. It is the past tense of the word ‘send’. For example:

  1. The gift was sent to her the previous day.
  2. I had sent my brother to our parental home to meet our ailing grandmother.


Comparison Table Between Send and Sent (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonSendSent
What is it?A verbConjugation of verb
Grammatical usageAs a verb and a sentence in active voice.Verb, adjective and a sentence in passive voice
Progressive formsPresentPast
Sentence ConstructionApplied before the beginning of completion of an action.Applied after the beginning of completion of an action.


When to Use Send?

It is a word in the English language that means “to convey something” or “to order or cause something or someone to go”. The word has been originally derived from two different Proto-Germanic words- sandijanan and sandaz. Sandijanan means “journey” or “go”. While Sandaz means “something that is sent”.

However its archaic form or the form that was used in Old English is sendan meaning  “to throw”, ”send” or “send forth”. It is linked to the Dutch word Zenden. Some of the major synonyms of the word ‘send’ are ‘convey’, ‘dispatch’, ‘deliver’, ‘forward’ or ‘direct’.

In sentence construction, it is used as a verb, both transitive and intransitive. However, it is an irregular verb which means that its spelling changes when it is used in sentences reflecting simple past tense (V2) or past participle (V3).

The word is used in a variety of contexts. Some of the major contexts in which the term is applied are as mentioned below:

  • To order or make someone or something to go. For example:
    • Do send your assignment by tomorrow.
    • Send your blessings so that I can pass the exam with flying colours.
  • To make something to happen. For example:
    • Whatever fate may send is fine by me.
  • To deliver something by a medium of communication. For example:
    • Send your work by email.
    • She sends a letter to her mother every week.

As evident from the above-mentioned examples, the word ‘send’ is mainly used to refer to an action that has not yet begun or ended. And it is used in an active voice. That is to say, it shows that the person or the thing denoted by the subject is the doer of an action.

‘Send’ is the present tense of the main word. It has a future continuous tense and a continuous tense which is ‘sending’. The continuous tense refers to an ongoing action. For example:

  1.  She is sending an SMS to her father.– Present Continuous Tense
  2. She will be sending an SMS to her father.- Future Continuous Tense

When to Use Sent?

It is the past tense and an inflexion of the verb ‘send’. Although it is mainly used as a verb, it can also be used as an adjective. In the form of an adjective, it is used to refer to “something that is on its way to a particular destination”. For example:

  • It was a heaven-sent opportunity.

As a verb, it acts as both, the simple past tense and the past perfect tense of the word ‘send’. It also acts as the past continuous and past perfect continuous tense of the main word. For example:

  1. He sent a gift to his sister. – Simple Past Tense
  2. He was being sent to a rehabilitation centre.- Past Continuous Tense
  3. I had sent you remarks on the topic yesterday itself.– Past Perfect Tense
  4. The assignment had been sent to the teacher much before the expiry of the deadline.- Past Perfect Continuous Tense.

Two things are clear from the above-mentioned examples:

  1. The word ‘sent’ is used to refer to an action that has either already begun or already ended.
  2. It is used in the passive voice which means it depicts that something is done to the thing or the person implied by the subject.

Another usage of the term ‘sent’ is in the form of a noun. But in its noun form, it assumes a completely different meaning. It is used to denote “a currency unit of Estonia that is equivalent to a hundredth of one kroon”.

Main Differences Between Send and Sent

  1. Both ‘send’ and ‘sent’ are verbs. But the word ‘sent’ is an inflexion of the verb ‘send’.
  2. ‘Send’ can be used only as a verb. But ‘sent’ can be used as both, a verb and an objective.
  3. ‘Send’ is used in an active voice that is when the subject of a given sentence is the performer of the action. While ‘sent’ is used in the passive voice, that is when the subject of a particular sentence is acted upon.
  4. In sentence construction, ‘send’ is used before the beginning or before the completion of an activity. While ‘sent’ is used after the task has begun or ended.
  5. The homophone of ‘send’ is ‘scend’ meaning “the act of rising upward on a swell or wave”. While the homophones of ‘sent’ are ‘cent’ meaning “a hundredth part of the dollar or other metric unit of currency” and ‘scent’ meaning “a distinct and often pleasant odour or fragrance”.



Although the words ‘send’ and ‘sent’ have the same meaning, it is important to keep in mind the context of their usage. The word ‘send’ is the present tense while the term ‘sent’ is the past tense.

One may get confused by their different spellings as the past tense of most of the verbs either have d or ed added to the end part of the main word. But that does not happen in the case of the term ‘send’. This is because; the word ‘send’ is an irregular verb.


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/send
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sent
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