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 we’ll
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 we’re 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 an ‘i’.
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
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
I hope that answers your question Betty. Thank you very much for writing to us. If anybody
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of course. bbclearningenglish.com. That’s it for this week’s Learners’ Questions.
I’ll see you next time. Bye!