As I explained previously, ensure means to make sure or certain that X will occur. Insure means to provide assurance that Y will occur if X does. And the related word assure means to set someone’s mind at rest or to eliminate worry. Clearly, the denotations of these three words are very much related.
However, the connotations are quite different. In that earlier post I explained the differences between ensure and insure. Assure conveys the action of eliminating worry, usually through a promise or guarantee. Although insure also involves a promise or guarantee, insure connotes a specific outcome if the promise or guarantee is either met or violated, such as financial compensation, whereas assure can both general and specific and usually requires a direct object.
Consider the same example sentence used in the aforementioned post. It uses the correct word — ensure. But what if the writer used assure? Here’s how the sentence would read.
Revising a rule of thumb
In that aforementioned post I presented a mnemonic device I used to distinguish between ensure and insure. Now that I’ve introduced a third word to the mix, I need to update my device.
In order to assure myself in times of need, I need to ensure that I insure my car.
As I said in that previous post, if you find this device helpful, great. If not, use what works for you. Whatever you do, assure yourself with the use of ensure and insure as well as assure. Your image of yourself and your brands will be all the better for it.