4

My question is the following:

Is it correct to use the auxillary verb HAVE only one time in the following type of a sentence:

"I HAVE written a letter and I sent it"

or should I repeat the auxillary verb like in the following sentence:

"I HAVE written a letter and I HAVE sent it"

  • Those two sentences aren’t the same. In the first sentence, “I sent it” is simple past; it would be different if you had written “and sent it”. – The existing answers don’t address this. Their authors have probably overlooked the second “I” in the first sentence. – chirlu Feb 5 '17 at 22:04
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No, you don't need to repeat it.

The perfective auxiliary throws us into the near past (have/has) or distant past (had), and the rest of the sentence is clearly locked in that time by context.

By repeating the auxiliary it stresses each activity specifically.

So, "I've written the letter and I've sent it." implies you went to all the effort of writing it, and then all the effort of sending it.

Whereas, "I've written the letter and sent it." implies a more fluid action of writing and sending the letter.

In fact, the more compact you make it, the shorter the action is presented.

So, "I've written and sent the letter." sounds complete and brief.

To make it clearer, I'll implement two past participles (that way we know the 'have' is affecting both of them):

"I've come home and done it already." 'Have' applies to both past participles. Saying, "I've come home and did it already." sounds unnatural and jarring.

  • What if it's two sentences? ("I have written the letter. I sent it.") Does being locked in that time still apply if we have multiple sentences? – Pacerier Oct 31 '18 at 7:14
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It's not necessary to repeat the same auxiliary and the same subject in the sentence presented, for example:

I have written a letter and sent it.

You can also say:

I have written and sent a letter.

2

In this context the perfect tense indicates an existing condition, to emphasize some action is done.

A: I don't think you sent that letter I asked you about. Did you even write it?
B: Yes, I have written that letter, and I have sent it.

While it is not necessary to use "have sent", the context suggests that you want to emphasize that you took care of both actions. Otherwise the simple past tense would be sufficient:

Yes, I wrote the letter and I sent it.

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