Ensure vs. insure, what’s the difference?
Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.
Ensure and insure are two examples of homophones often cited as confused words.
Using ensure and insure correctly will help your writing become clearer and more accurate.
The english language is sometimes confusing.
So, in this short article we examine how you can use these commonly misunderstood english words. And we offer some practical writing tips too.
We’ll also cover ensure vs. insure vs. assure.
What Does Ensure Mean, and How Is It Used?
To ensure means to make sure something is going to happen. It is a promise that a future event will occur. Some examples:
- Passing this exam will ensure a passing grade in this class.
- The gymnast’s perfect 10 ensured her the all-around gold medal.
- Writing every day ensures you will increase weekly word-count.
Is Ensure a Real Word?
Ensure is commonly used in the wrong instance, which is why it is often marked incorrect. Differentiating between ensure and insure will help you avoid the problem of confused words.
What Does Insure Mean, and How Is It Used?
Insure means to protect something using an insurance policy. Examples include:
- My car was insured against the damage caused in the crash, so I was able to get it repaired.
- My insurance company refuses to insure my house against flood damage.
- I insured my writer’s den in case of fire.
Both insure and insurance start with the same letter. This can help writers keep the difference in the words straight in their minds.
This definition is a little too simplistic, however. According to Merriam-Webster, insure is correct in all instances relating to finance and insurance. Thus, in some instances insure is not directly connected to insurance but is still correct, such as:
- The end-of-the-year sales insured the company against unwanted bankruptcy.
- A new product line insured the company against a loss this quarter.
Clearly, there is a big difference between ensuring and insuring, especially when talking about insurance. Make certain to use insure in instances involving finance and insurance every time.
Is Insure a Real Word?
Insure is a real word, but it is used only in specific instances when referring to insurance or financial scenarios. Outside of insurance, you would likely use ensure instead.
What About Assure?
Assure is not a homophone with ensure and insure, but it is commonly mixed up with them. In fact, assure, ensure and insure are three words that trip up writers.
Assure means to emotionally support someone who is having doubts, fear or insecurity. Some examples:
- I assure you, we will be able to get through this hard time.
- The locked door assured Rob that his dog would not get out while he was at work.
- I assure the voters we’ll remove any doubt about what to expect from our next budget.
Assure has more of an emotional connotation than ensure or insure.
The Final Word on Insure Vs. Ensure Vs. Assure
Now that you understand the difference between assure, ensure and insure, you are better equipped to use these words correctly. Still, it’s easy when you’re writing, to choose the wrong word. How can you ensure you’re using the correct word?
First, try to carefully review all of your writing, looking for homophones like these that commonly mess you up. If you know that ensure vs. insure is a problem for you, make an effort to seek them out.
Read through your writing and highlight all instances of these words, then double-check that you’re using them properly according to the rules and definitions above.
Second, use grammar tools to help. Grammarly is a good one, even if english isn’t your native language.
This tool, which is available as either a free or paid version depending on your needs, will point out grammar errors, including mixed-up homophones like ensure and insure.
Here’s an example.
Grammarly’s grammar checking software caught the problem and provided the correct substitution. It works whether you write in British or American english
By checking writing with Grammarly or another grammar checker, you can avoid common grammar errors like this and present better finished writing to your reader.
Learning to use homophones correctly is critical to strong, clear writing.
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