Ensure or Insure?

Subject: Ensure or Insure?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 13:39:33 -0400

Tom Green wondered about: <<"Ensure/Insure the shifting fingers are
oriented..." ... I have conflicting answers. Some say "Insure" others,
"Ensure." Some others say either is right...what do you think?>>

I think "some" and "others" need to buy a dictionary. <g> "Insure" is for
"insurance", but if you want a guarantee or confirmation, you "ensure"

fwiw, I've seen "insure" accepted as having the secondary meaning of
"ensure", but that's generally considered an archaic usage and is frowned on
in at least one Canadian style guide. Unfortunately, this is also an example
of "what's old is new again"; the two words were originally synonymous, with
variant spellings, and they're beginning to be treated that way again in the

My take: the distinction is still useful, so I follow the advice in my own
sig line.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold,//Alike fantastic if too new
or old://Be not the first by whom the new are tried,//Nor yet the last to
lay the old aside."-Alexander Pope

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