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When to Use Insure, Ensure and Assure

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All Three Words are Closely Related, but They're Not Interchangeable.

Even the most seasoned professionals can use help from time to time. That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide on a small but important aspect of word choice: assuring, ensuring and insuring.

  • Assure and ensure are similar in meaning, but they’re not interchangeable.
  • Ensure is more formal than assure.

Assure vs Ensure vs Insure

Assure is to make certain. The phrase assure you, for example, means “to make certain” or “to guarantee.”

Ensure is to guarantee something. You can ensure that something happens by taking other steps to ensure it will happen. For example, if you want your child to get into medical school, you can ensure that she gets the best grades possible so she has a higher chance of getting in.

Insure means “to take precautions against something.” For example, insuring your car against damage!

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Assure (Dispel Doubts or Make Certain)

When someone says they will assure you of something, it means they are making a promise or guarantee that something will happen.

The word is often used in contracts as well; if you read your insurance policy carefully, there may be some wording that refers to how certain things must be assured by the insurer (or perhaps by you). 

Ensure (Guarantee)

Ensure is a great word to use when you want to guarantee that a certain thing will happen. It’s helpful if you’re writing about a guarantee or making one of your own. For example:

  • We can ensure that the document will be edited by tomorrow morning by 8:00 AM

Insure (Take Precautions Against Something)

Insure is a verb and a noun. As a verb, it means to take precautions against something. For example, you can insure your car or home. When you do this, you are taking precautions against the possibility that something might happen to those items—but it’s not certain that anything will occur in the first place.

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