Ensure, Insure, Assure

No matter how much I read about them, there are some grammar rules I don’t think I will ever get, such as when to use “compared to” versus “compared with.” I get hung up on those every time I need to use them, and I pray whoever is reading what I just wrote is not a grammar expert because I pretty much wing it with those. I know a lot of people who have difficulty with the use of the words ensure, insure, and assure, so I thought I’d let you know what The Gregg Reference Manual (the tribute and 11th edition) says about them.

Ensure means “to make certain.”

Insure means “to protect against loss.”

Assure means “to give someone confidence.” The object of this verb should always refer to a person.

The examples of sentences that the book gives are:

I want to ensure [make certain] that nothing can go wrong tomorrow.

I want to insure this necklace [protect it against loss] for $5,000.

I want to assure you [give you confidence] that nothing will go wrong.

Are there any grammar rules, words, and/or phrases that trip you when you’re writing and/or speaking?

4 Responses to “Ensure, Insure, Assure”

  1. Becca February 13, 2013 10:40 pm #

    I enjoy grammar, though I’m certain I’m not an expert at it. I appreciate when people can put words together so well they just sound beautiful. :)

    • February 17, 2013 2:55 pm #

      Hi, Becca!
      Thank you so much for your comment on my blog post on the use of ensure, insure, and assure. I really have no idea how anyone can be an expert at the English language as it can be so confusing and always changing! I recently took a class in which the instructor said English is the second most difficult language to learn (Russian is the most difficult, according to her). I give credit to anyone for whom English is not their first language!

  2. Molly March 12, 2013 10:09 am #

    I SO appreciate your efforts to make the world a better place grammatically! I grew up in a house where my mother’s prized possessions were her red pens, and come from a long line of grammar geeks! ; )

    • March 14, 2013 8:27 pm #

      Thank you, Molly!

      Many people tease me when I go on my tirades about grammar, but the truth is that no matter what business you are in, you have to be able to communicate properly and effectively. I try to stress that when I speak to children about writing, especially when they tell me that they don’t want to be authors. Obviously, we cannot expect ourselves to know everything that there is to know about grammar (the English language is a bit of a bear!), but I think it’s important to have a good understanding of it. I suppose this indicates that the grammar geek inside of me is trying to get out!


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