Quick English: Ensure, Assure and Insure

ensure, assure, and insure


English has one of the largest vocabularies of all languages, and the only way we can keep this distinction is by having a number of words that mean slightly different things, but fulfill similar roles. When learning English, it's important to understand the key differences between words that sound similar so you know how to use them correctly.

Ensure, assure, and insure are 3 verbs with the same root but different prefixes that all have related meanings. Understanding the differences will help you figure out which word you're looking for.


Is it ensure, assure or insure?

Ensure (verb): to make something certain or safe

               > I ensured we wouldn't run out of food by ordering twice as much as last time.

               > How can we ensure that the construction noise won't disturb the neighbors?

Assure (verb): to tell someone in a very strong and definite way that something will happen or that something is true

               > Dominick assured the teacher he would be in class this week.

               > It sounds like a crazy idea but I can assure you, it works!

Insure (verb): to buy or provide insurance

               > Rebecca needs to insure her motorcycle before she can ride it.

               > Is there any point in insuring my jewelry?

Hand-picked related content: HOW TO USE EITHER, NEITHER OR NOR

Helpful tips:

Remember that assure is used when talking about people, and ensure is used when talking about things.

To reassure is to assure again. If you know the word reassure, you can imagine using assure the first time you are making someone feel confident.

Insure, like insurance, is always related to finances.


Test yourself 

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