11th September 2014
Word Choice: Ensure vs. Insure
Although “ensure” and “insure” sound similar and differ in spelling by only one letter, they are typically used in very different contexts. Nevertheless, due to their similarity, they are often mixed up in writing.
However, repeated misspelling of the word “ensure,” or confusing it with the word “insure” will reflect badly on your attention to detail. As such, you should try to memorize what these words mean.
Ensure (Make Certain)
“Ensure” is a verb meaning “make certain” of something. It is commonly used in academic assignments when checking that something is accurate or guaranteed. For instance, we might say:
To ensure that the results were accurate, we repeated the test.
If you need to use “ensure” several times in one paper, you may want to use synonyms such as “guarantee” or “make certain” to vary your word choice.
Insure (Guarantee Against Loss or Harm)
To “insure” something is to secure it against potential damage, loss or harm by arranging for compensation should anything unfortunate occur:
My house is insured against fire and water damage.
It is most often used when discussing finances, specifically the idea of getting “insurance” against a risk:
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Before you go abroad, make sure to get travel insurance.
Sometimes, you can also use it in a more general sense to mean “take precautions,” as in the sentence:
By apologizing to the headmaster, the children hoped to insure themselves against detention.
Ensure or Insure?
Although they look similar on the page, there is a clear difference in meaning (and spelling) between these two words. To ensure that you use the correct one in your paper (see what we did there?), remember the following:
Ensure = Make certain/guarantee
Insure = Take out financial protection against a risk
If you would like more writing advice, get in touch with the professionals at Proofed today!
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