Ask Difference

Tense vs. Intense — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 24, 2023
Tense refers to either a time reference in language or feeling anxious, while Intense describes a strong degree or extreme force of something.
Tense vs. Intense

Difference Between Tense and Intense

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Key Differences

Tense and Intense, while appearing somewhat similar in spelling, have distinct meanings and applications. Tense can refer to grammatical constructs that indicate time, such as past, present, or future in language. Alternatively, it can describe a state of mental or physical strain or tension. On the other hand, Intense captures the notion of something being extreme or possessing a high degree of force or feeling.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
In a linguistic setting, Tense aids in framing when an action took place. For instance, "I eat" is in the present Tense, whereas "I ate" is in the past Tense. Intense doesn't have this grammatical function but instead amplifies the degree or strength of something. A sunburn can be Intense, or a person might feel Intense emotions.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
From an emotional perspective, someone might feel Tense before an important meeting, indicating anxiety or stress. This Tenseness is a reaction to a particular situation. Conversely, if someone is described as Intense, it suggests they possess or demonstrate extreme passion, concentration, or energy in their actions or emotions, irrespective of any particular situation.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
When looking at the physical realm, a muscle might become Tense, referring to its tightened state. This could be a result of stress, exercise, or a reaction. In contrast, physical training could be described as Intense if it's particularly demanding or rigorous.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
Summarily, while both terms might seem related due to certain overlapping contexts, Tense often denotes time in language or a state of strain, and Intense characterizes the extreme nature or high degree of something, whether it's emotion, effort, or sensation.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Grammatical Use

Refers to time in language (past, present)
No grammatical usage in this context
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Oct 24, 2023

Emotional State

Indicates anxiety or stress
Describes strong or extreme emotions
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Oct 24, 2023

Degree or Extent

Does not imply degree
Implies high degree or strength
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Oct 24, 2023

Physical Description

Describes a tightened state (e.g., muscles)
Describes extremity (e.g., workout)
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Oct 24, 2023

General Connotation

Time or strain
High degree or extremity
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Compare with Definitions

Tense

Strained or tight.
Her muscles were Tense after the run.
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Oct 24, 2023

Intense

Of extreme force, degree, or strength.
The Intense heat of the desert was overwhelming.
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Oct 24, 2023

Tense

A state of mental or emotional strain.
The atmosphere in the room was Tense.
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Oct 24, 2023

Intense

Deeply felt or profound.
The movie had an Intense emotional impact on her.
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Oct 24, 2023

Tense

Characterized by nervousness or anxiety.
He felt Tense before the interview.
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Oct 24, 2023

Intense

Having or showing strong feelings or opinions.
He's an Intense individual, passionate about his beliefs.
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Oct 24, 2023

Tense

Not relaxed or at ease.
She seemed Tense during the meeting.
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Oct 24, 2023

Intense

Concentrated in nature or character.
The course was Intense, packed into just a few days.
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Oct 24, 2023

Tense

Tightly stretched; taut.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Intense is the fifth studio album by Dutch DJ and record producer Armin van Buuren. It was released on 3 May 2013 by Armada Music.The first song announced to be on the album is "Waiting for the Night", featuring the singer Fiora, which was released on 21 January 2013 as the theme song to the Dutch film Loving Ibiza (Verliefd op Ibiza).
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

In a state of nervous tension or mental strain
Was very tense before the exam.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Possessing or displaying a distinctive feature to an extreme degree
The intense sun of the tropics.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Causing or characterized by nervous tension or mental strain
A tense standoff between border patrols.
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Intense

Extreme in degree, strength, or size
Intense heat.
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Tense

(Linguistics) Enunciated with taut muscles, as the sound (ē) in keen.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Involving or showing strain or extreme effort
Intense concentration.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

To make or become tense.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Deeply felt; profound
Intense anger.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

A property of verbs in which the time of the action or state, as well as its continuance or completion, is indicated or expressed.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Having or showing strong feeling or great seriousness
An intense writer.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

A category or set of verb forms that indicate or express the time, such as past, present, or future, of the action or state.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Strained; tightly drawn.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Any of the forms of a verb which distinguish when an action or state of being occurs or exists.
The basic tenses in English are present, past, and future.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Strict, very close or earnest.
Intense study;
Intense thought
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

An inflected form of a verb that indicates tense.
English only has a present tense and a past tense; it has no future tense.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Extreme in degree; excessive.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

The property of indicating the point in time at which an action or state of being occurs or exists.
Dyirbal verbs are not inflected for tense.
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Intense

Extreme in size or strength.
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Tense

To apply a tense to.
Tensing a verb
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Intense

Stressful and tiring.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

(transitive) To make tense.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Very severe.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

(intransitive) To become tense.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Very emotional or passionate.
The artist was a small, intense man with piercing blue eyes.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Showing signs of stress or strain; not relaxed.
You need to relax, all this overtime and stress is making you tense.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Strained; tightly drawn; kept on the stretch; strict; very close or earnest; as, intense study or application; intense thought.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Pulled taut, without any slack.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Extreme in degree; excessive; immoderate;
In this intense seclusion of the forest.
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

One of the forms which a verb takes by inflection or by adding auxiliary words, so as to indicate the time of the action or event signified; the modification which verbs undergo for the indication of time.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

In an extreme degree;
Intense heat
Intense anxiety
Intense desire
Intense emotion
The skunk's intense acrid odor
Intense pain
Enemy fire was intense
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Stretched tightly; strained to stiffness; rigid; not lax; as, a tense fiber.
The temples were sunk, her forehead was tense, and a fatal paleness was upon her.
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Extremely sharp or intense;
Acute pain
Felt acute annoyance
Intense itching and burning
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

A grammatical category of verbs used to express distinctions of time
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

(of color) having the highest saturation;
Vivid green
Intense blue
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Stretch or force to the limit;
Strain the rope
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Dec 07, 2019

Intense

Demanding of effort or attention.
The Intense workout left me feeling exhausted.
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Oct 24, 2023

Tense

Increase the tension on;
Tense a rope
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Tense

Become tense or tenser;
He tensed up when he saw his opponent enter the room
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Tense

Make tense and uneasy or nervous or anxious;
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Tense

In or of a state of physical or nervous tension
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles (e.g., the vowel sound in `beat')
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

Taut or rigid; stretched tight;
Tense piano strings
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Dec 07, 2019

Tense

A grammatical category denoting time in language.
The sentence She dances is in the present Tense.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Common Curiosities

Can Intense be used in a grammatical context similar to Tense?

No, Intense doesn't have a grammatical function like Tense does.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can Intense be used to describe a person's character?

Yes, describing someone as Intense can mean they have strong feelings, emotions, or concentration.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is Tense only used to describe emotions?

No, Tense can refer to a grammatical time frame or describe a state of strain or tension.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is every Intense situation also Tense?

Not necessarily. A situation can be Intense without inducing stress or anxiety.
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Oct 24, 2023

What makes an emotion Intense?

An Intense emotion is deeply felt or profound, often to an extreme degree.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

How does Tense function in grammar?

In grammar, Tense determines the time an action takes place, like past, present, or future.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is being Tense similar to being worried?

Being Tense often indicates anxiety or stress, which can be related to worry, but they aren't synonymous.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Do Tense and Intense have similar origins?

While both come from Latin, "Tense" originates from "tensus," meaning "stretched," and "Intense" from "intensus," meaning "stretched inwards" or "intense."
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can music be described using Tense or Intense?

Music can be Intense if it evokes strong emotions, and Tense if it creates a feeling of tension or suspense.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Does Tense always refer to a negative state of mind?

Not always. While Tense often indicates stress or anxiety, in grammar it's neutral, referring to time.
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Oct 24, 2023

Is a passionate person always Intense?

Not necessarily. While passionate people may exhibit Intensity, passion doesn't always mean Intensity.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Can a workout be both Tense and Intense?

A workout can be Intense in terms of rigor and Tense if it causes muscle tightness.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Are all Tense situations negative?

No, a situation might be Tense due to anticipation or excitement, not just negative factors.
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Oct 24, 2023

Can a flavor or smell be Intense?

Yes, flavors or smells can be described as Intense if they're particularly strong or pungent.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

Is a Tense person always anxious?

Not always. Tense can describe physical tightness or a specific mental state, not just anxiety.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 24, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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