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By Judy Vorfeld

Have you ever writ­ten, “We will do every­thing in our power to insure that your ship­ment arrives before Friday”? Was this cor­rect? It’s not incor­rect, but there’s a bet­ter way to use it.

There are three words that con­fuse peo­ple: insure, ensure, and assure.

INSURE means to pro­tect against loss. Example — I’m going to insure the ship­ment for $5,000.00.

ENSURE means to make sure, make cer­tain, to guar­an­tee. Example — I will ensure that the ship­ment arrives by Friday.

ASSURE means to give the per­son con­fi­dence, to inform pos­i­tively. The object of the verb “assure” should always refer to a per­son. Example — I assure you, we’ll do all pos­si­ble to get the ship­ment there by Friday.

Let’s try using all three in one sen­tence: I assure you, we’ll do all pos­si­ble to ensure that the insured ship­ment arrives on time.
To recap:

INSURE: pro­tect against loss
ENSURE: guar­an­tee, make cer­tain
ASSURE: give confidence


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