Um, what?! Although these three words sound pretty similar, they are not interchangeable – while their definitions are similar, each verb has a unique use and purpose. So, let’s look at their definitions first.
Assure (verb): to make certain or remove doubts; to confidently tell someone something.
Ensure (verb): to secure or guarantee; to make something certain to happen.
Insure (verb): to guarantee against loss or harm; to issue an insurance policy.
😵 Clear as mud? Told you the definitions were pretty darn similar! There’s a lot of certainty and guaranteeing associated with these three commonly confused words that tend to leave us very uncertain.
One word has a pretty clear distinction (and its misuse happens to be a personal pet 🤬 peeve!): Insure. Typically a financial term, to insure relates to buying insurance, to protecting yourself from loss or financial risk.
I assure my clients that I’ll produce quality work.
I ensure that I produce quality work for clients.
I do NOT insure that I produce quality work, since I’m not issuing insurance policies.
(Note: Warranties aren’t the same thing, so even if your business offers a warranty, you’re still not insuring anything!)
When it comes to the use of assure v. ensure, a general rule to keep in mind is assure pertains to people, while ensure relates to actions or events.
BUT John doesn’t insure his dinner – though hopefully, he insures his home, especially if his domestic skills resemble mine whatsoever! 😆
And then we can put them all together:
A good service advisor will assure the customer that, because their vehicle is insured,
the shop can ensure the repair will be completed within one week.
Tell me what you thought about this blog! Was it helpful? What are some grammar conundrums you contend with?