The verbs “attend” and “tend” are both interchangeable and different from one another. They mean to care for, approach, treat or perform work. However, “attend” has a more formal inference with an additional connotation of “to deal with.” On the other hand, “tend” has a more positive, tender conveyance.
So, the difference is in the nuance of what you intend to say. What compounds this bit of confusion is the fact that “attend” and “tend” aren’t always acceptable to use as synonyms.
Meaning; Use of “Attend”
“Attend” is a verb that means to be present, occur with, deal with, or as a result of. It can also mean to escort or wait on in relationship to royalty. The prevailing meaning will largely depend on inference and context. It has a colder, more rigid energy to it.
We never got a chance to attend the rally speeches.
I have to attend to my mother’s every wish or she screeches like a banshee.
The prince and princess attend her majesty, the queen.
Naturally, the lockdowns now attend to a food and supply shortage.
Meaning; Use of “Tend”
“Tend” has a tender connotation and carries with it a certain amount of care. But this is in being synonymous with “attend.” On its own, “tend” can refer to a particular behavior or classifying something according to its characteristics.
You tend to the garden every morning but don’t water plants every day.
Harry tends to his work with a detailed eye and a steady hand.
The verb “to tend” also has the meaning of having a tendency toward something.
English tends to be very difficult for those who come from cultures that use a different alphabet.
When you give children sugar, they tend to get hyper.
Synonymous Use of “Attend” and “Tend”
“Attend” and “tend” are interchangeable in one way, in that they refer to caring for, waiting on, or being present for something. But, in other ways, they can sound a little off. At the very least, it will change the context. We’ll take some examples from above to illustrate.
- Acceptable: You attend to the garden every morning but don’t water plants every day.
- Awkward: English attends to be very difficult for those who come from cultures that use a different alphabet.
“Attend” and “tend” are both verbs that can mean the same thing. However, they have their own inferences as well. So, context will be everything in determining the difference.