Are You Sure?


Are You Sure? It is paradoxical that three words meaning "to make secure or certain," to quote The American Heritage Dictionary, create confusion in the minds of writers. Assure, ensure, and insure are kissing cousins, but they are not triplets and should not be used interchangeably regardless of context. In American English – British waters are muddier – it may be simplest to assign this trio three distinct roles: Assure should be used when eliminating doubt or instilling confidence in someone, as in, "Alicia assured her mother that students at Princeton get enough sleep." Ensure should be used when making certain [...]