I see a lot of examples of be intended to and intend to. Both of them mean plan to do.

Some examples:

Selling was my game and I intended to be a winner.

The ban is intended to be permanent.

I guess the difference between them is if the subject is human, it should use be intended to. Otherwise use intend to. Is that right?

  • "if the subject is human" what makes you think so?
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2014 at 4:42
  • Logically, intending can only be done by an living being. A stone cannot "intend" to do something, right? It's not about grammar as such. The ban did not intend, but someone intended that the ban ought to be or do something. HTH.
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2014 at 4:44
  • @Kris, I understood it now , Actually I want to say the subject is an living being like human . Thanks your nice comments. :)
    – Joe.wang
    Sep 1, 2014 at 5:55
  • 3
    Isn't this just an active versus passive voice difference?
    – Barmar
    Sep 1, 2014 at 7:01
  • Oh..I didn't thought that.
    – Joe.wang
    Sep 1, 2014 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


Both expressions exist but have different uses. Collins explains

If you intend to do something, you have decided or planned to do it.

  • She intends to do A levels and go to university.

If something is intended for a particular purpose, it has been planned to fulfil that purpose. If something is intended for a particular person, it has been planned to be used by that person or to affect them in some way.

  • This money is intended for the development of the tourist industry.

Macmillan records the phrase be intended with the preposition for:

to be made, done, or said for a particular purpose or person

  • The posts are intended for students who have recently completed a first degree in biology.

I personally see intended as a synonym of meant, and it can be used with for + noun or to + verb, as you can see in this FDA article:

A dietary supplement is a product intended for ingestion that, among other requirements, contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet.

The intending is done by an animate subject in both cases. The difficulty is with the phrase be intended for/to do smth. Although Macmillan says that something can be intended for something else, I don't see why you cannot say

He is intended to represent the distillation of the standards expected by those who regularly use the market. (source)

However, examples such as this last one are more rare and formal, and sound rather the synonym of is meant/expected/supposed to.

This Ngram confirms it enter image description here

The conclusion is that if you want to express someone's intention concerning themselves, use intend to:

I intend to study [am thinking of studying] cooking this summer.

If someone has an intention, but it is directed at something or someone else which functions as the subject of your sentence, then use be intended to:

Students are intended to study cooking this summer [e.g. by the university].

The reference to passive voice in the comments was not out of place. Consider:

God intended man to be the king of creation. (active)
Man was intended (by God) to be the king of creation. (passive)


"Is intended to" means someone has intentions for something other than themself. "Say hello to Fred, everyone. He's intended to fill the position Jack occupied before his retirement. I intended to tell you about him last week, but I forgot."

  • See my comment at OP. HTH.
    – Kris
    Sep 1, 2014 at 4:45

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