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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 'Assure', 'ensure', 'insure' - Learners' Questions

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Hi guys! Dan for BBC Learning English here with this week's Learner Question. Find out

what it is after this.

OK! This week's learner question comes from Betty from Hong Kong, who writes: Could you

tell me the difference between assurance and insurance. I was told that we talk about life

assurance but property insurance. However, I have also heard that American insurance

companies talk about life insurance. Please help. Well Betty, I can assure you that well

give you the answer. Are you ready? Here we go.

Starting with the verbs. If you assure someone about something, then you tell them that it

is definitely true or will happen, often in order to make them feel less worried. We often

use such phrases as, I can assure you (that)… or let me assure you (that)… in order to

emphasise the truth of what were saying. For example: Let me assure you that the children

will be totally safe.

Ensure is subtly different from assure, and people often confuse the two. If you ensure

that something happens, you make certain that it happens. A less formal equivalent of this

verb in spoken English would be make sure. For example: Please ensure that you close

and lock all doors and windows. In American English, ensure is often spelt with ani’.

Insure has another meaning. If you insure yourself, or your property, then you pay money

to an insurance company so that if you become ill, or if your property is stolen or damaged,

that company will pay you money. For example: I always insure my phone against water damage

and theft.

Now for the nouns. Assurance has the same meaning as assure. If you give someone an

assurance that something will happen, you say that it is definitely true or will happen

in order to make them feel less worried. For example: I gave her assurance that she would

catch the flight.

In British English, we sometimes talk about life assurance as an alternative to life insurance.

Insurance is the term used to describe all other types of insurance. For example: That

car is not insured. The insurance expired last July.

Finally, please note that we cannot say ensurance. There is no noun which is derived from the

verb ensure.

I hope that answers your question Betty. Thank you very much for writing to us. If anybody

else out there has a question for LearnersQuestions, you can email us on: learning.english@bbc.co.uk.

Please remember to put LearnersQuestions in the subject box and your name and where

youre writing from. We get a lot of emails, guys, and Im afraid that we cant answer

all of them, but we do read every single one. And for more information, go to our website,

of course. bbclearningenglish.com. Thats it for this weeks LearnersQuestions.

Ill see you next time. Bye!

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