Has it ever occurred to you if you’re using ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’ correctly? Sometimes the word is already at the tip of your tongue, before doubt hits and impacts your confidence. In this post, we discuss the similarities and differences between ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’. More importantly, we learn to use ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’ the right way.
Bahasa Melayu translation is available for the examples to provide clarity on the explanations. Do note that the translation is not literal, to ease understanding of practical usage of ‘Ensure’ vs ‘Assure’. The Comment section is ready to receive your questions, shall you have any.
‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’ both sound similar and spelled almost the same too. So does this mean that they have the same meaning? Or, could you just say either, with hopes that the other person would understand what you mean? Or even worse, you just decide not to speak at all?
No, no, no. This is exactly the reason you should invest in the skill of communicating well. So that you can convey your ‘brains’ to those who need you. Make no mistake about that. And also, make no mistake that ‘Ensure and ‘Assure’ are two different words that carry two different meanings.
Firstly, let’s get into the definition of ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’. The root word of both ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’ is ‘sure’, and both words are verbs (action words). And that is where the similarity ends. ‘Ensure’ means to make sure, while ‘Assure’ means to convince.
Although it is easy to confuse ourselves because the act of convincing IS an act of making sure of something too. So before we overthink the terms, let’s delve into some examples to see the difference between ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’ clearly.
- The clients are assured of her service from her track record.
- His smile assured us of his confidence.
- The clients ensured her service is good by checking her track record.
- He ensured we saw his confident smile.
Example 1. The clients are assured of her service from her track record.
In Example 1, the term ‘assured’ carries the meaning of ‘convinced’ in this sentence. ‘Assure’ is used in an interaction with a living being. You can never use the word ‘Assure’ with an inanimate object.
Example 1, when translated to Bahasa Melayu, carries the meaning of, ‘Para klien berkeyakinan dengan perkhidmatan beliau kerana rekod prestasinya‘. Note that ‘assured’ here carries the meaning of ‘berkeyakinan‘ and not ‘yakin‘.
If we use the word ‘yakin’ in our Bahasa Melayu translation, that would alter the meaning of the original sentence. The original sentence would have been changed to, ‘The clients are confident of her service from her track record’.
Although it might seem that both sentences carry the same meaning, it is good to know that using ‘assured’ implies that doubt had been clarified. While using ‘confident’ does not imply so.
Example 2. His smile assured us of his confidence.
In Example 2, the term ‘assured’ carries the meaning of ‘convinced’ too. Although in this sentence, ‘assured’ seems to imply that the assurance was given to reinforce another person’s confidence. This explanation might be clearer when shown in the Bahasa Melayu translation.
In Bahasa Melayu, Example 2 carries the meaning, ‘Senyumannya mengukuhkan keyakinan kami terhadap keyakinannya‘. On the other hand, it could also carry the meaning, ‘Senyumannya menguatkan hati kami akan keyakinannya‘. Notice how ‘assure’ is used to carry the meanings of ‘mengukuhkan keyakinan‘ and ‘menguatkan hati‘ in Example 2.
With that in mind, let’s move on with examples for ‘Ensure’.
Example 3. The clients ensured her service is good by checking her track record.
In Example 3, the term ‘ensured’ carries the meaning of ‘made sure’ in this sentence. ‘Ensure’ is done by taking action, while ‘Assure’ is usually done by talking, convincing, or reinforcing.
Example 3, when translated to Bahasa Melayu, carries the meaning of, ‘Para klien memastikan perkhidmatan beliau bagus dengan menyemak rekod prestasinya‘.
Example 4. He ensured we saw his confident smile.
In Example 4, the term ‘ensured’ carries the meaning of ‘made sure’ in this sentence. ‘Ensure’ is requires action, while ‘Assure’ requires talking, convincing, or reinforcing.
Example 4, when translated to Bahasa Melayu, carries the meaning of, ‘Dia memastikan yang kami melihat senyuman keyakinannya‘.
To wrap things up, the similarities between ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’ are:
- Derived from the root word ‘sure’.
- Almost similar spelling.
- Almost similar pronunciation.
There is ONE reason these two words are NOT the same.
Keeping in mind that these two words carry different meanings is important. Using ‘Assure’ and ‘Ensure’ interchangeably affects the precision of one’s communication. Being aware of this usual English error allows you to avoid the common pitfalls.
One easy tip to remember when using ‘Assure’ and ‘Ensure’ is to simply remember that ‘Ensure’ means ‘to make sure’. Anything other than that would be ‘Assure’. Simple, isn’t it? In fact, I provide some points on the usage of ‘Assure’ VS ‘Ensure’ in my book, The Janitor’s Elysium, that you get here.
Here’s a short video (less than 4 minutes) of me explaining Assure and Ensure:
Improvement comes from awareness. And now that you’re aware of the difference between ‘Ensure’ and ‘Assure’, let me know what other English Grammar misconceptions that you would for me to explain. You may drop a line in the Comment section below or simply reply to me if you subscribe to my Weekly Email.
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Until then, remember that whatever that’s inside your brain is only as good when they’re out for people to know. Convey your ‘brains’ to the world by communicating effectively. And I am here just to help.