What's the difference between "tend", "intend" and "attend"?
Tend, tendency; intend, intention; attend, attention.
Those pairings should say something.
"Tend" points to tendency, the probability of someone doing something (often bad) under certain circumstances. "Intend", on the other hand signifies subjective emotions of intention, purpose and willingness. "Attend" implies attention, which means to do something carefully, with focus and awareness.
For example, people tend to lose temper, poise or composure under pressure, even though they have no intention to do so.
"Attend" means to be there - officials attend meetings. "Attend" also implies that they are paying attention, or they should. In reality this may not be the case. Public office holders who attend meetings a lot are sometimes seen dozing off on television while the speaker prattles on upon the podium. Some are even privately reported to be snoring (their boredom) out loud. They certainly are not paying attention to the meeting, but who can blame them when they have so many of them?
That's why if you look up a dictionary, "attend" means merely to "go to an event such as a meeting or a class" (Longman). The "attention" part tends to go unmentioned, and perhaps intentionally so it is too. I guess people are just not expected to pay attention at meetings any more.
Or classes at colleges and universities, for that matter. A sign of our times, perhaps?
Joking aside, fortunately, when people say they attend a baby or a patient, they still do mean to look after them with full care and attention.
Incidentally, for the same jobs, it's also correct to say "tend to" (a baby or a patient).
Hopefully with the same undivided attention.