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Assure, Insure, Ensure



© Judi Birnberg      Collage with handmade paper


I assure you that you will understand the differences among these three similar words. See? You already knew what ASSURE meant in that sentence: to give a guarantee or to make certain.

ENSURE also means to make certain; you might say, “I can ensure you the package you ordered will be delivered today.”  Note the use of can with ensure.

INSURE has to do with money (think about insurance). “You need to insure that package at the post office.”


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Assure, Insure, Ensure


I guarantee you these three words are easy to differentiate; in fact, I can assure you of that.

ASSURE means to give others information that will erase any doubts they might have had:

UCLA assured me the math section of the Graduate Record Exam would not count on my admission to the English Department Master’s program.” (This is true. I called twice to make certain. That’s how good I am in math.)

ASSURE also means to make something sure to happen:

Samantha assured her passing the DMV written test by assiduously studying the boring rule book and by passing all the practice tests.”

Use INSURE when you are dealing with money:

You insure a package at the post office, you insure your car against theft and liability, you insure your home against fire, theft and earthquakes.”

ENSURE means a guarantee that something will be done:

“Harry ensured the principal that he would stop feeding his homework to the dog.”

You see that ASSURE and ENSURE can often be used interchangeably, but keep INSURE for when money is involved.

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Insure vs. Ensure

A difference in meaning exists between these two words:

INSURE has to do with money changing hands:  You insure your house against fire, flood and earthquakes.  You insure a package at the post office.  You insure your car against damages.

ENSURE means to “make certain.”  By setting your alarm, you ensure you will not be late for your early morning flight. By reading a recipe before starting to cook, you ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment necessary.  By drinking Ensure, you ensure you will get adequate vitamins and calories.  (This is not a paid announcement and I’ve never drunk Ensure, but I’m guessing that’s its purpose.)

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