Tenant or Tenet?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
What is the difference between tenant and tenet?

Tenant is a person who rents land or property. For example:
  • The tenants in the apartment above us are too noisy.
Tenet is a principle on which a belief or theory is based. For example:
  • Non-violence is the central tenet of their faith.

Tenant or Tenet?

The words tenant and tenet sound similar, but their meanings are completely different.


The noun tenant describes a person who occupies land or property that is rented from a landlord. Though not as common, tenant can also be used as a verb. For example:
  • My tenant never washes his hair.
  • (Here, tenant is a noun.)
  • We are only tenants, and shortly the great Landlord will give us notice that our lease has expired. (Joseph Jefferson)
  • She tenants the land from a farmer.
  • (Here, tenant is a verb.)


The noun tenet denotes an adopted belief, theme, or principle.

  • Trust is the central tenet of our agreement.
  • The phrase "Love your enemies" is not always an easy tenet to live by. (Lea Salonga)
  • My views have evolved to support marriage equality. They do not require a religion to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom. (Tim Johnson)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? What are nouns? List of easily confused words