During a conversation with one of my friends;

My friend: sends something offensive

My friend: I could have unsent it

Me: You should rather have unsent it than telling me you could've unsent it.

Also, I am dubious about using unsent it twice. Like one at the beginning and the another after telling me. Is it alright? Can you provide me more example sentences of this sort?

closed as off-topic by Michael Harvey, Hellion, Andrew, Davo, Chenmunka Feb 19 at 14:46

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question should include more details than have been provided here. Please edit to add the research you have done in your efforts to answer the question, or provide more context. See: Details, Please." – Hellion, Andrew, Davo, Chenmunka
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


It sounds formal enough to me that it doesn't seem entirely natural. Speaking from the point of view of British English.

You should have unsent it, rather than tell me you could've unsent it.

That would be the minimum alteration to seem entirely natural. Consider adding actually between 'should have' and 'unsent it', and just between 'rather than' and 'tell me'. There are other natural options. For instance,

You'd have been better to unsend it, rather than just tell me you could've.

Note one difference here is that the "unsend it" isn't repeated. Repeating it is fine, it's not ungrammatical and isn't necessarily even unnatural - it can serve to emphasise. However, it's also unnecessary, as it is implicit. It can be left out, or replaced with something like "do/done that". For example,

Why did you put the laundry on to tumble dry when I told you not to?

It would have been better to pretend to punch him, rather than actually do that.

  • I was also thinking to add actually between should have. You should actually have unsent it, rather than tell me you could've. I find no reason to add just ,however. – user88834 Feb 16 at 14:43
  • 1
    The just in my suggestion is in the sense of merely. It suggests that telling someone you could've unsent it is in some sense a lesser action than unsending it - it is doing half a job, as it were. – SamBC Feb 16 at 14:47
  • Yes. But it totally depends on what the speaker wants to say. My emphasis was just on the fact that It would've been better if you'd unsent it at first place. – user88834 Feb 16 at 14:51
  • Yes, but in writing my answer I couldn't be sure exactly what the intention behind the question was. – SamBC Feb 16 at 14:54
  • 1
    @TasneemZh: I didn't even realise I'd changed that. I must have just shifted it to what I found most natural without thinking about it. I think it's actually a bare infinitive in that case, rather than a present form - as it wouldn't change in the third person singular - "She should have called me, rather than tell everyone she didn't know where I was". – SamBC Feb 16 at 16:32