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The Difference Between “Ensure,” “Insure,” and “Assure”

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These three words are often used interchangeably, but each word has a distinct definition and better serves certain scenarios over the other two.

White text over green background reads "insure vs. ensure vs. assure"
These three words cause a lot of confusion.
  • Ensure means “to make sure, certain, or safe.”
    • I will ensure that Gabriella makes it home safely.
  • Insure refers to “protecting someone or something financially with an insurance policy.”
    • I need to insure my house and make sure it’s protected against hurricane damage.
  • Assure is defined as “to remove doubt or give confidence to.”
    • I assure you that everything will be okay.

“Ensure” vs. “Insure” vs. “Assure”

There’s a bit of an overlap when it comes to ensure, insure, and assure. All three of these words are verbs, and if you use one in place of the other, your audience will most likely understand what you’re trying to say. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean these words can be interchanged. There are certain scenarios and definitions that are attributed more to one word over the other two. Below, we’ll go over the differences between ensure, insure, and assure and teach you how to use these words correctly.

What Does “Ensure” Mean?

Ensure means “to make sure or guarantee that something will (or will not) happen.” Here are a few examples of ensure in a sentence:

The only way to ensure that I don’t fail the exam is by studying.
I want to ensure my children go to a good school when they’re older, so I opened a savings account for them.
The varsity basketball team scored 15 unanswered points, ensuring the win over their rivals.

What Does “Insure” Mean?

The confusion mostly arises with ensure /ɪnˈʃʊr/ and insure /ɪnˈʃʊr/ because they are homophones—words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings.

Insure means to “protect someone or something financially with an insurance policy.” In other words, if you insure someone or something with a policy, that insurance company will compensate you if something were to happen.

Luckily, I insured the painting, so I received money for it when it was destroyed in the fire.
Carlos was looking for the best and more affordable company to insure his new boat.
It is illegal to drive if your car is not insured.
Close up photo of two pairs of hands holding a folder and removing paper that reads "life insurance policy."
Heads of households often take out a life insurance policy so that if anything happens to them, their family would be financially secure.

What Does “Assure” Mean?

Assure /əˈʃʊr/ means “to remove doubt” or “to give confidence” to someone (or other living creature).

I assured my mom that I would be home before curfew.
My time at the animal shelter involves spending a lot of time assuring the animals that they are safe and loved.
Kevin had to assure Hank that he would turn in the requested papers on time.

It is worth noting that British English sometimes uses assurance to refer to insurance, more specifically life insurance.

“Ensure,” “Insure,” and “Assure”

You can remove the “e” and add “—anceto insure and assure to make it a noun, but you cannot do that with ensure.

I was shopping around for life insurance the other day.

It was clear to me that they were merely seeking assurance that everything was going to turn out fine.

William and Marlene were looking for ensurance in any way possible.

So, after reading this quick guide, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to use these three words correctly. And although LanguageTool cannot insure your writing, it can ensure flawless texts by detecting spelling and grammar errors. Try it out today.

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