Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ September 2, 2017/ Uncategorized

insure versus ensure versus assure

What’s the Difference Between Insure, Ensure, and Assure?

Insure, ensure, and assure have the same ending, and they all are all verbs related to the idea of certainty. However, these words have very important differences that mean you cannot use them in the same way.

Insure is a verb related to the noun insurance. It means to secure against loss or damage.

  • Most people decide to insure their homes against fire damage or other common dangers.

Ensure is also a verb. It means to make sure or to guarantee.

  • Wearing a bicycle helmet will ensure a higher chance of avoiding brain damage in an accident.

Assure is a verb as well. Its definition is to make someone feel sure by telling them something comforting.

  • The son assured his parents that he would never smoke cigarettes.

Now, let’s go over a few ways you can use these words in your sentences.

Using Insure in a Sentence

When to use insure: Insure is a verb that means to guard against harm or loss. It often is used when talking about insurance policies.

For example,

  • Even hundreds of years ago, merchants insured their ships in case the merchandise was lost in storms or pirate attacks.
  • It is very important to insure your car. In fact, it is illegal to drive without car insurance.

Insure originally was an alternate spelling of ensure. However, by the mid 1600s, it had developed the specific meaning of protecting against harm through payment of premiums.

Using Ensure in a Sentence

When to use ensure: Ensure is a verb that means to make safe or certain.

For example,

  • He brought a dozen water bottles to ensure he wouldn’t get thirsty.
  • It’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher to ensure you’ll be able to put out small fires.

Ensure is somewhat formal. The synonym make sure is more likely to appear in casual conversations.

Using Assure in a Sentence

When to use assure: Assure is a verb that means to declare something confidently or to assuage someone’s doubts or fears.

For example,

  • My parents were worried that I had forgotten to turn off the oven, but I assured them that I had done so.
  • Don’t worry. Your performance will be great; I assure you.

Assure is also somewhat formal, and, therefore, it doesn’t often appear in casual conversations.

Remembering Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure

It is possible to use the spelling of insure, ensure, and assure to distinguish the three words from one another.

Insure is the easiest to remember, because it has the same initial letters as insurance. This makes the connection between the two words very clear.

Ensure has two letter e’s, just like the word guarantee, which is a synonym.

Assure can also be easy to remember if you already know the verb reassure. Reassure contains the entire word assure within it, and they have very similar meanings.

Outside Examples

  • It was concern for the port that had led Andrew Haswell Green to first propose consolidation 30 years earlier. Green had saved New York’s ruined finances in the 1870s after the fall of the legendarily larcenous Tammany boss William Marcy Tweed; he had been a key player in the creation of Central Park, the Museum of Natural History and the forthcoming New York Public Library; through all these public-spirited years he had argued for an “imperial city,” one unified governmental instrument that would, chiefly among other things, centralize the port’s administration and insure continued commercial importance. –New York Daily News
  • In addition to using top French cinematographer Stephane Fontaine (“A Prophet,” “Captain Fantastic”) and his regular editor Sebastian Sepulveda, Larraín utilized superior talent like production designer Jean Rabasse and costume designer Madeline Fontaine to insure that the historical events depicted, like Jackie’s iconic outfits and Lyndon Johnson’s swearing in on Air Force One, are shown just as they should be. –LA Times
  • McGregor hired retired official Joe Cortez to look over his sparring sessions in training, in order to ensure he remains within the rules. –USA Today
  • China’s economic growth showed signs of fading in July as lending costs rose, but a hard landing is unlikely with Beijing keen to ensure stability ahead of a once-in-five-years Communist Party leadership reshuffle later this year. –New York Times
  • Truex’s playoff points war chest — he has a 17-point advantage over Larson — seems to assure him enough insurance to advance through three rounds of elimination playoffs, as one driver will proceed on points each time. –USA Today
  • I want to assure you of my loyalty for all you have done, Aurelio said. It’s undying. –New York Daily Post

Quiz: Ensure vs. Insure vs. Assure

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either ensure or insure or assure, in the correct form.

  • The diving instructor ____________ all of his students that they were well prepared and that they would do a fantastic job on the test.
  • The man had a main deadbolt and a backup deadbolt to ___________ that no one could break into his house.
  • If you don’t ____________ your vehicle you could get a ticket.

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use insure or ensure or assure? These three words all involve the concept of certainty or being sure. However, there are important differences between them that prevent you from using them interchangeably.

  • Insure is a verb that means protecting oneself against loss or harm through the payment of insurance premiums.
  • Ensure is a verb that means to make an outcome certain.
  • Assure is a verb that means to take away people’s doubts by telling them something comforting.

All three of these words are related to the Latin root meaning secure.

Answers from Quiz

  • assured
  • ensure
  • insure