Intend vs. Intent – What’s The Difference?

 What is the difference between intent (intention) and intend?

I had this conversation with my best friend yesterday. I know that intent and intend are two different things. And I know that ‘to intend’ is different from ‘to intent’

I know that it’s different, I just can’t explain it. 

So what is the difference?


  1. My two cents:

    I see "intend" almost as an excuse you tell yourself to give yourself and other people the impression that you are really going to do it–when chances are, it may not happen. Like "I intend to study today" as opposed to "I'm *going* to study today." The former sounds airy-fairy and not as full of conviction as the latter, which is almost a statement of a fact.

    I see "intention" as more of a subconscious programming you do internally, more of a promise that you make with yourself that you are really going to see yourself finish whatever you have set your heart to do. "I intend to go traveling next year" as opposed to "I have an intention to go traveling next year." That's just the impression I get from the contrast between the two words. Looking forward to hear what everyone else has to say on that matter!

  2. I think the best way to distinguish between the two is by understanding the difference between intent as a noun and intent as an adjective:

    n. Something that is intended; an aim or purpose.
    adj. Firmly fixed; concentrated: an intent gaze.

    To distinguish between them in the every day think about the difference between these two sentence starters:

    I intend to… [do something]
    I am intent on… [achieving something]

    hope this helps. Also check out how Deepak Chopra explains it:

  3. the difference is : one is a noun ( intent ) & the other a verb ( intend ) . . same purpose bound directive

  4. Thank for the responses everyone!

    Deepak's twitter feed today:

    "Intention is the active partner of attention; it is the way we convert our automatic processes into conscious ones." – Deepak Chopra

    That said, I don't know why I never thought of the two words in terms of their grammatical differences. Silly me.

    Yumi – That's a great comparison. They're both… goal oriented? But intend also, like you said, feels like you have the option not to do whatever it is that you want to do. Hmm…

    Tom – The video was great. Deepak explained it in terms of healing, but his bird example made sense to me. To understand the intention of something, like evolution, you can think about what the intended outcome was.

    Rather than seeing them as two completely different ideas, I guess I should remember that the two relate to each other. "Same purpose bound directive" as Clear Light said.

    These were great responses and are definitely helping me try to understand the difference, or similarity and relation, of the two words. Right now, I guess with all of the discussions I've been having, intention is being related to (active) consciousness and awareness (active in parenthesis because active consciousness and awareness feels redundant. but those are the string of words that popped into my head) for an intended outcome, whether physical, spiritual, or beyond.

    Thanks again for the responses, and if you guys ever have more to add, they're definitely welcome!!!

    much love.

  5. Thank you all, for explaining the difference between 'intend' & 'intent'.

    Tom, grasped your explanation, promptly! Very well, & precisely explained. Thank you, Tom. :o))