Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ensure correct word usage

I assure you, if you want to ensure that you don't lose everything in the next (inevitable) natural disaster, you need to insure your house now.

assure = to give confidence to another person

ensure = to make sure or certain

insure = to buy a policy to protect something

See? Nice and easy. So let's not intermingle these, shall we?


  1. I assure you that I will continue to read your blog to ensure that I will not intermingle these.

  2. Ah, but why do so many use the extraneous "that" after ensure? You can as easily "ensure" as you can "ensure that."

  3. I disagree that "that" following "ensure" is always extraneous. It can be very helpful to the reader in certain circumstances. In my example above, "that" is not necessary, but I think it's helpful. And for those who still struggle with the difference between the three words above, omitting "that" can have them going down the wrong path when beginning to read a sentence like this:

    To ensure your house is protected, buy insurance.

    To someone who confuses ensure/insure, this sentence might start to read as a how-to on buying house i(e)nsurance. But when the reader gets to "is," he/she realizes that the sentence is saying something else and has to start over to get the full meaning.

    Maybe not a common problem, but I like to err on the side of clarity and ease of reading. It's almost always jarring to me to read "ensure" without the "that."