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Assure, Ensure, Insure

September 10, 2008

I’m trying to sort out when to use assure, ensure and insure. I was taught to use insure when referring to insurance an nowhere else but I’ve just discovered that in some accept insure and ensure as interchangeable terms. Assure seems pretty straight-forward.

Here’s what I’m getting:

I assure a person of something for peace of mind. “I assure you that your insurance is going to cover the damage.”

I insure my vehicle. “I need to make sure that I insure my car before I take it on the road.”

I ensure other things. “I checked the balance on my statement to ensure that it was correct.”

Many people use ensure and insure interchangeably but this didn’t seem right to me. I looked it up in the APA Refresher Guide and this source states that many use these words interchangeably but others prefer to us insure strictly for insurance and financial matters.

Assure should be easy for me to remember because the term relates to people’s feelings.

I’m still working this through my head because I was confusing ensure and assure. I think I’m getting it straight now. This is a great example of how many shades of meaning words have in the English language.

Do you have examples of other terms that are similar to assure, ensure and insure?

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