Ensure vs. Insure vs. Assure

Ensure vs. Insure vs. Assure

The words ensure and insure are enough to make even the best grammarian's head spin! When you throw in the very similar word assure, you have a tangled mess! Let's take a few moments to sort out these three very similar words. It will ensure that you use them correctly, and I assure you, it won't take long!

Ensure is a verb meaning to make certain.

1. The lawyer ensured that the witness would be at the trial to testify by driving him to the court herself.

2. Every night, mom ensures that we have our things ready for school by double checking our backpacks before we go to bed.

Insure is a verb meaning to secure or protect against damage. This is what we do when we buy insurance.

1. I need to insure my new car before I drive away with it, just in case.

2. My grandmother bought a policy to insure her jewelry, and then she put the most valuable pieces in a safe.

Assure is a verb meaning to tell positively and dispel doubts. It can also be used in a similar manner as ensure, but it means to be certain (more so than to "make" certain).

1. The teacher assured us that by the end of the lesson we would understand how to divide fractions.

2. The victory was assured the moment we crossed the river and pinned the opposing army between us and the mountains.

This second meaning of assure is not used very often, and that one is really the only one that is similar to ensure. So, in summary, ensure things will or won't happen; insure your property; and assure people!

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