These two are used interchangeably at times, and we might be at the point where the distinction is losing all meaning in our everyday speech. (But for now, let’s at least try to keep the difference alive!)
To be more precise, we use insure when we mean ensure; it’s rarely the other way around.
The distinction is easy. To insure something is to put some insurance on it. We insure our houses, our cars, and other things of value. We even have life insurance, which is more like death insurance, but that’s another issue….
To ensure something is to make sure that it happens, to safeguard or guarantee an action.
- We ensure someone that Grandma will behave this time by sitting next to her throughout the evening.
- The company delivering our package tries to ensure that it will arrive on time.
- Teenagers wanting to keep their privilege will ensure they are home by curfew.
Since the most common error is to say insure when we mean ensure, if we just keep using insure when we are referring to insurance, it will likely ensure a proper usage of these words.
First of all, thank you for being a reader. I hope you enjoy and are blessed by what you read. I have something to share with you:
- I have three websites in all. I hope some who are signed up for one might be encouraged to sign up for another.
- My devotional (www.markdupre.com/devotional), which is a daily Christian devotional meant to encourage and challenge. (The book form is called Along the Way, and is available on Amazon. Also available there is my book, The Christian’s Guide to Adulting.
- “Dedicated to Grammar” (www.dedicatedtogrammar.com), which is a fun weekly release designed to help professionals, students, and those learning the language, speak and write more accurately. It’s also ideal for folks learning English as a second language. But you already know that!
- Last but not least is my film website (www.film-prof.com). My degrees are in film, and I taught film at a university for 20+ years. I analyze films, new and old, and cover some film-related events.
This shouldn’t be a chapter at all….
Anyway, here we go.
When we want to make something plural (making it more than one), we add an “s” to the word. The exception in most English words is when the word already ends in -s, -s, -ch, or something similar, and then we add an “es”.
I’m not going to speak of busses, buses, women or children here. That’s too complicated for this blog. I’m stayin’ simple.
Where we are goofing up is in adding an apostrophe. Where the heck did that come from? One tree, two trees. Not two tree’s. Simple.
One house. Three houses. One bird. Two thousand birds. It’s not that hard.
Apostrophes indicate that something belongs to someone. Try not to think about that when making something plural.
Bottom line: For simple plurals, add an “s.” Leave the apostrophes out of it.