Difference Between Assure & Ensure

Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature. He has taught college English for 5+ years.

'Assure' and 'ensure' cause confusion because they sound alike and have similar meanings. But there is a difference between these two words, and this lesson will sort it out for you.

Assure and Ensure

What is the difference between 'assure' and 'ensure'? A lot of people use these words interchangeably, but they are slightly different.

It is easy to see why people would get confused though. 'Assure' and 'ensure' look alike and have similar meanings. This is because they come from the same Latin root word, 'securus', which also gave us words like 'sure', 'insure', 'secure', and 'security'.

And not only that, but 'assure' and 'ensure' also do the same job in a sentence. They are both verbs, or action words. And while the actions they refer to are similar, they are not identical and are used in different circumstances.

Assure as a Verb

'Assure' means to tell someone something will definitely happen. It is important to remember that 'assure' is an action that you do to a person, group of people, or an animal to relieve their doubt or anxiety. A good rule of thumb is if the thing the action is being done to is alive, use assure, which also starts with an 'a'.

Let's take a look at some examples:

  • Jan assured Molly that she would be home in time for her birthday party.
  • I assured my boss the report would be ready by Friday.
  • The fireworks scared my dog, so I had to assure her that everything was okay.
  • Mike assured the group that they would be out of the office by 5:00 PM.
  • Malcolm assured his investors they would get their money back and then some.

The fireworks scared my dog, so I had to assure her that everything was okay.
Dog

Note how in all of these sentences, the subject of the sentence is telling someone else that a specific thing will happen.

Ensure as a Verb

While 'assure' is something you say to a person or animal, 'ensure' is something you actually do to make sure something happens. While 'assure' is just talk, 'ensure' is action. Speaking of which, let's see it in action:

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