March 15, , at 3: According to the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language , there is even more overlap between assure and insure. The definition of a word is in the context and usage. Related Words attest , certify , vouch , warrant , witness ; pledge , promise , swear ;. I hate to see some of these distinctions lost, simply because we then lose the interest of using them literally for the fun of it.
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While I agree there are instances when the use of either word is appropriate, there is a subtle distinction between ensure and insure that is not being appreciated in this article. To tie it strictly to the issuance of an insurance policy leaves its definition remarkably and incorrectly narrow. We appreciate your comment. Yes, while the words ensure and insure are generally interchangeable, only insure is used in the commercial insurance sense. I really appreciate the clarity on this. Not knowing the distinctions have always bothered me.
Is there any basis to my… pet peeve? Your pet peeve is just a matter of personal preference. But why then do we sometimes hear: This mind-set only serves to increase the difficulty of expressing nuanced thoughts and instead favors ideas that are strictly balck or white. One could also argue that the interchangeable use of the words insure and ensure is what removes subtlety. Other dictionaries we checked do not appear to make this distinction. It seems to me that the difference between insure and ensure is not really that subtle at all.
To insure against something or to insure something is to take steps to mitigate the negative effects of that thing happening e. Jane makes this point very well in response to Bryan. I disagree that insure is simply a stronger form of ensure, and I think that by modern standards the NRA got it wrong, and so did the Founders, although of course it may well have been correct in their day. They are two very different concepts, and people using the terms synonymously damages the not-so-subtle distinction.
This is the correct explanation of the difference — all the comments about financial protection are misleading and confusing the point.
Insuring is about planning for the eventuality that it might. Their intended message is a recommendation that you act to make certain that your rights are protected. They are not offering an alternative to gun ownership if your rights are removed.
This means I can make sure when I am proof-reading tutorials that they are correct. According to the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language , there is even more overlap between assure and insure. Just found this post. Kindly tell me your take on this.
If the presenter is literally requesting that the sender add insurance coverage to the shipment, then it is correct as written: However, if the intent is simply to make sure that a tracking number is obtained, we prefer the word ensure for clarity; however, insure may also be used. They are asking for two items that will serve as a safeguard for the item that is to be mailed.
The second is to obtain a tracking number. As we stated in our earlier response, if the presenter is literally requesting that the sender add insurance coverage to the shipment, then it is correct as written.
Thanks Jane for taking the time to post this. I have always had a difficult time with a lot of the English grammar and this helps a bunch. It seems as though Sam likes to hear himself or in this instance, SEE himself argue. Thanks for the info and keep it up!
I was just writing a letter and wondering if insure and ensure could be different but the same, good reference…. Installing a smoke alarm does not ensure the safety of your family even though the person fitting it assures you that it will. This is why we have insurance. I think we can ensure that something is the case but we can say very little about what will happen in the future.
Our definition of ensure is reasonably similar to every dictionary definition available: Ensure is perhaps our best human effort to predict a safe future. We do like your two sentences where you use all three words: Language changes over time. OK, OK maybe modern usage demands that these words are interchangeable. I hate to see some of these distinctions lost, simply because we then lose the interest of using them literally for the fun of it.
We understand what you are trying to do with your sentence, Bryan. Unfortunately, insuring your car does not necessarily ensure your safety. It does help ensure that costs for damages to property and persons are covered.
Words like everything else evolve over time. The definition of a word is in the context and usage. Meaning that the way that a word is used in a sentence can change the meaning of the word over time. Or add an additional definition to the word. This was a great help for me as I needed to put the correct term in my resume. Our blog Assure vs. Since you want to know that the updates will be made, rather than just promised to be made, ensure is a better word.
Take a look at the New York Times headline this morning Aug. The headline is correct. Obama said that he wants to ensure the continued availablity of mortgages. In most cases ensure is going to be the right word. Jane, I am afraid that on this one issue, I must beg to disagree.
In the UK, people distinguish between these words in their pronunciation and in their writing. This is assuring for it ensures a level of insurance against the confusions that are more common regarding these words in the U.
These sorts of changes in language are always occurring. Thank you for the information regarding the use of the English language in the UK. Our website emphasizes American English and leans towards usage rules in the Chicago Manual of Style.
A more complete definition of insure would be to protect from loss, not only to cover with an insurance policy, while ensure is to make certain. The use by the NRA is correct. They must constantly organize and act to ensure their rights against greed, corruption, incompetence, apathy, and …. Hello, I have often been told that the word tips was derived from the words To Insure Prompt Service. Do you have any insight on the background of this word?
Also, in this context should the word be ensure? Another good source for these sorts of questions is the Online Etymology Dictionary. I am editing a section of a document about quality assurance practices. But it is Quality Assurance. What do you think? You are correct that assure is more about saying than doing and ensure is more about doing what is necessary to achieve that assurance. Since this document deals with quality assurance and the word assurance implies a promise, it is not surprising that the company chose the word assure.
But assurance is about communicating confidence. How can a walk-through communicate? I think Quality Assurance should be Quality Ensurance, but ensurance is an obselete word, as you mention in a later post. By the way, Quality Control is something else. While assuring is more about saying than doing, saying is not the only method.
There is also a place for non-verbal communication in providing assurance. Synonym Discussion of ensure ensure , insure , assure , secure mean to make a thing or person sure.
I assure you that no harm will be done secure implies action taken to guard against attack or loss. Learn More about ensure See words that rhyme with ensure Dictionary: Seen and Heard What made you want to look up ensure?
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Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? Ensure that your television set is switched off at night. References in classic literature? The best intentions will not always ensure success. Leave Frederica, therefore, to punish herself for the plague she has given you, by indulging that romantic tender-heartedness which will always ensure her misery enough, and come to London as soon as you can.
To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken-- this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect. In the first place, I saw darkly what the nature of the conspiracy had been, how chances had been watched, and how circumstances had been handled to ensure impunity to a daring and an intricate crime.
The three fellows still abroad upon the island did not greatly trouble us; a single sentry on the shoulder of the hill was sufficient to ensure us against any sudden onslaught, and we thought, besides, they had had more than enough of fighting. Her brother's recommendation was enough to ensure her favour; his judgement could not err. AT a consultation, held between Colonel Winslow and Captain Murray, [of the New England forces, charged with the duty of exiling the Acadians,] it was agreed that a proclamation should be issued at the different settlements, requiring the attendance of the people at the respective posts on the same day; which proclamation should be so ambiguous in its nature that the object for which they were to assemble could not be discerned, and so peremptory in its terms as to ensure implicit obedience.