Re: Insure vs. Ensure

Subject: Re: Insure vs. Ensure
From: Fred Randall <frandall -at- SOMAT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 10:26:03 -0500

>Recently had to look this up. Seems it is a matter of preference (or
>region) whether one uses "insure" instead of "ensure" or "assure". At least
>that's what the American Heritage usage note states!
>Kim Wallace, Untitled Manager of Marketing Services
>Enserch Energy Services, Inc.
>1301 Fannin, 23rd Floor
>Houston, TX 77002

Sorry, Kim, but I must respectfully disagree with you. According to
references I use, the words mean thus:

INSURE - to contract to be paid or to pay money in the case of
loss (life, property, etc.); take out or issue insurance on.
EX: I will insure your automobile.

ENSURE - (1) to make sure or certain; guarantee; secure (2) to
make safe, protect.
EX: I will ensure your automobile is insured.

ASSURE - (1) to make a person sure of something; convince
(2) give confidence to; reassure. . .(4) to make (a doubtful
thing) certain, guarantee.
EX: He assured me he would ensure my automobile was

Thus, if someone says they will "insure" something gets done, they
are in essence saying they will pay you some amount if it is not done.
I think "ensure" and "assure" could be used interchangably, but feel
"ensure" is better if you are telling someone you will make sure some-
thing is done.

Fred Randall
Documentation Specialist
SoMat Corporation, Urbana IL (in the Heart of the "Silicon Prairie")

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