RE: Ensure, Assure, Insure

Subject: RE: Ensure, Assure, Insure
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "Kirk Turner" <royj -at- alltel -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 10:41:02 -0400

Kirk Turner asks...

> I am having a debate with a client over usage. I've looked in all the
> reference sources, but I'd appreciate the options of experienced
> In the following sentences, which use of ensure/assure is correct?
> 1. The information presented also ensures that the project will be
> delivered
> on time and within budget with a quality level that meets the
> for the most efficient use and management of the project
> 2. The information presented also assures that the project will be
> delivered
> on time and within budget with a quality level that meets the
> for the most efficient use and management of the project.
> Is there a way to avoid the use of assure/ensure/insure?

For the record, I'm answering this without consulting any reference
materials--just to provide an unfiltered response. Thus, this post is
purely opinion and may not match with an exact OED definition or with
the opinions of other list members.

My gut says that sentence (1) is the better stated sentence. The reason
for this is that "ensure" connotes (in my mind) a set of instructions or
a series of facts that allow a user or customer to be confident in the
result or conclusion presented. For example, "Research conducted by
manufacturers and industry ensures that proper use of seatbelts in
combination with airbags reduces severe or fatal injuries in car

"Assure," on the other hand, connotes a promised result that is forecast
without supporting facts or instructions. For example, "I assure you
that if you dive for the frisbee on the pavement it will hurt worse than
if you dive for it on the grass."

"Insure," of course, connotes a promise that is backed by some sort of
monetary or property compensation should some specified peril befall the
insured product, service, or agreement. For example, "The surge
protector manufacturer insures attached equipment up to $5,000 against
losses due to power surges when they are properly connected."

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