The English language has so many fun aspects, whether it’s sorting out homonyms (acts or ax) or figuring out which synonym is most appropriate (good or righteous). Even native English speakers can have difficulties with some nuances, so don’t feel too bad if you mix up Assure, Ensure, and Insure. Given that they all sound similar and all mean “to make certain,” it can be quite task sorting out which word to use in which context. In this lesson, we will try and make it a little more clear for you. However, if you do forget these tips in the future, you can reference back at http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/difficulties/assureensure.html
Assure: Assure most commonly means “to remove doubt about, to guarantee, to set one’s mind at rest.” It is a verbal statement of certainty. Assure is the only one of these three verbs that can be used with a person as the direct object.
- I assure you that this car is a good investment.
- She assured me of her good intentions.
- Once I had my mother’s assurance that I was not in trouble, my day went much more smoothly.
As you can see from the above examples, assure is something typically done between two or more people.
Ensure: Ensure means “to make sure or certain” and must be followed by a direct object. Ensure indicates the action of guaranteeing, as opposed to the spoken guarantee indicated by assure.
- Taking vitamins will help ensure good health.
- Jennifer pumped the brakes, ensuring that they would not lock up at her sudden stop.
- Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
Insure: Insure refers to the provision of insurance: coverage against a specified loss.
- My new car is not yet insured.
- Our house was insured when the storm hit.
Insure is the most complicated because it can, at times, be interchangeable with ensure. For instance: “Insure your pet’s health with regular vaccinations,” is every bit as correct as “Ensure your pet’s health with regular vaccinations.” In that case, it depends on the writer’s preference.
Word choice is always an important aspect of composing any kind of written work, but can become especially important when dealing with such similar words as Ensure, Assure, and Insure. It falls to you, as the writer, to know what message you are trying to get across with each sentence and to choose to correct words to communicate that message. Using these tips and examples will hopefully make the murky waters of the English language a little clearer for you.