I am not a native English speaker. Thus I am not sure about the meaning of an email I received. Since the writer is important to me and I depend on his good will, I am afraid to ask him what he wanted to say.

I had sent a normal email asking about the progress a third person made since there was some delay. The reply was

"I have resent your message, I already spoke to him last week".

I first thought, OK, he has forwarded the mail. But now I have seen that a more formal translation would be "I am angry about your (in some sense annoying) message". Unfortunately, the writer was also not a native English speaker.

Now I am wondering how "resent" is typically or most commonly used.

  • 8
    If it was the regular verb "resent" then it would have been used in the past tense "I have resented..." instead, the past participle of the irregular verb "(re)send" is (re)sent, so it was used correctly in the message you received
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 22, 2018 at 12:00
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    The usual recommendation is to add a hyphen to disambiguate (eg re-sign from resign) where necessary. Though this rule of thumb is not universally obeyed, even among native speakers. In fact, ODO uses resign where AHD, Collins and RHK Webster's insist on re-sign, and I think all list resend. The omission of the hyphen rather than the mangled grammar is far more likely. Mar 22, 2018 at 12:15
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    Yes, to "resent someone" or "something" means to take offense. In the case of the non-native speaker then you really need to communicate with that person and clear up any misunderstanding there may have been. Just write, or phone, and thank them for passing on your message (forwarding the email?) ask if everything is OK and/or how you might be able to help more.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 22, 2018 at 12:23
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    Not answering the question (there are good answers already), but you should ask yourself if there was anything in your message that might cause resentment. The ambiguity only really exists if there was, because why would he get angry about it if there was nothing in it to offend? If there was something in your message that could potentially upset him, then perhaps you should consider discussing it with them anyway regardless of whether they were actually offended.
    – Simba
    Mar 22, 2018 at 14:19
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    Since neither of you is a native speaker, it is not possible for the "rules" of English to determine for sure what was intended.
    – WGroleau
    Mar 22, 2018 at 15:11

3 Answers 3


"I have resent your message, I already spoke to him last week". I first thought, OK, he has forwarded the mail.

That is indeed what he meant. This is based on the verb "to resend" (ODO link).

His usage of "to resend" a bit off. It implies that he has sent the message a second time, which is not the case here (the first time, you were the one who sent the message, not him).

A more correct usage would be:

I sent the message. Then I noticed that I sent it without the needed attachment, so I resent the message with the attachment.

I sent it the first time, and then I resent it. It was the same sender both times (me).

Regardless of correctness, what the person who wrote to you meant to say is that he forwarded the message.

But now I have seen that a more formal translation would be "I am angry about your (in some sense annoying) message".

You're thinking of the verb "to resent", which does mean feeling bitter or indignated (ODO link). But this doesn't actually fit in the current sentence:

I have resent your message

Grammatically, this can only be the present perfect tense of "to resend".

There is no grammatically correct interpretation that allows for "to resent" to be used here.

Compare this to other cases in which "to resent" could be grammatically correct:

I resent your message.

This is ambiguous between the two options:

  • The present tense of "to resent" => "Today, I am offended by your message"
  • The past tense of "to resend" => "Yesterday, I sent your message again"

I have resented your message.

This can only be the present perfect tense of "to resent". But it sounds a bit forced.

I have resentment for your message.

"resentment" is the noun form of "to resent". But it sounds a bit forced, it would be more idiomatic to say that you carry resentment for something.

  • 3
    Thank you for your detailed account, I did not expect this deepness.
    – GeoViewer
    Mar 22, 2018 at 12:08
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    People often use the word "resend" to refer to forwarding. The message was sent the first time to them, and the second time from them. While it's not the same person doing the sending, it's the same message.
    – Barmar
    Mar 22, 2018 at 17:05
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    “It implies that he has sent the message a second time” To me, it implies somebody already sent the message so I wouldn't find it “a bit off”. But granted, I am not a native speaker either. Mar 22, 2018 at 19:31
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    From the context, I don't think that the usage of "resend" is really that wrong (your first section). Mar 22, 2018 at 22:42
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    @Azor-Ahai: No, it's not. "I have resented his presence since he arrived" is totally grammatical. Mar 23, 2018 at 1:08

“Resent” is one of those words in English whose meaning depends on the pronunciation more than the spelling. In this case, the pronunciation is (approximately) /riˈsɛnt/, is often written “re-sent”, and means “sent again”. What you found in the dictionary would be pronounced /rɪˈzɛnt/, and carries the anger-related meaning you are asking about.

Pronunciation information: https://tophonetics.com/
Definitions: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/resent


If he has said "I have resent.." rather than "I resent.." it is more likely to (s)he intended the meaning to be re-sent rather than making the grammatical mistake of using have where it does not belong.

Best to chat in person if unsure and have a laugh about misunderstandings.

  • 1
    The anger-related meaning is quite common, but usually discernable from context in writing. The context here makes it pretty clear that the intended meaning is "re-sent", "sent again" (see my answer to this question). Mar 22, 2018 at 12:23
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    It does sound a complicated situation when queryin a perceived recent resentment over resentment may cause resentment to be resent. Mar 22, 2018 at 12:37
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    @PaulChilds - I don't pronounce/stress offer(n) and offer(v) differently. Mar 22, 2018 at 13:34
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    @PaulChilds OED has Brit. /ˈɒfə/, U.S. /ˈɔfər/, /ˈɑfər/ for both noun and verb, fwiw. How do you say them?
    – AakashM
    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:17
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    This is why AP style and careful editors call for words like "re-sent" to be spelled one way and "resent" to be spelled another way. Same with "re-create" and "recreate."
    – user8356
    Mar 23, 2018 at 14:52

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