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Its so easy to confuse Ensure and Insure

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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:54 PM
Original message
Its so easy to confuse Ensure and Insure
Ensure and insure are two words that have very different meanings. To ensure is to make certain or guarantee performance, to insure means to secure indemnity in case of loss, damage, or death.

If you were one of the Government's Purchasing Agents or Contracting Officers you would be well aware of what are called "Inherent Government Functions". These are the things which are so basic to Government that they can not be contracted out and they are enumerated in regulation. There are inherent Government functions which aren't listed in the regulations though. National defense is one of them. There is no duty that is more basic nor one that is more the sole responsibility of Government to ensure that citizens are safe from attack and it is no less a basic function of Government to ensure the health of those very same citizens.

The conservative side of me says that it is not a function of Government to insure anything and it is certainly not a function of Government to ensure the profits of the insurance industry. The libertine in me says that it is a fundamental function of Government to ensure the health of its citizens.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:57 PM
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1. A lot of confusions are easy for the illiterate.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:10 PM
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2. Ensure comes in 8 oz. cans
But not nearly as tasty as :beer:
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lame54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. and taste like chalk
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:35 PM
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4. Not really.
Older American usage had 'insure' as a simple variant of 'ensure', and that usage survives here and there. Some style manuals prohibit it entirely, but those are people or groups of people setting themselves up to dictate usage to others. As long as this is for publications within an organization, or determining publishing-house uniform standards, that's fine. The problem is when these manuals are asserted to have general application, all the more serious a problem because the manuals do not always agree among themselves. Note that we have no royal or state academy to dictate such things, however much some prescriptivists believe themselves to be linguistically privileged (note that even in countries with royal or state academies they, at best, manage to dictate just a part of the public sphere).

Insurance, underwriting, is only 'insure' in the US, however--that's an observation, not a diktat--so it's not as though the two spellings have the same range of meanings. Consider it lexical specialization superimposed on two spellings in what, at this distance, appears to be free variation.

It is the function of the US government to "insure domestic tranquility," but that has little to do with underwriting. Then again, the writers of the document that's quoted from were busy trying to abolish authoritarian rule in the US, so perhaps they missed the appropriate controlling authority.

Note that common American usage has 'cannot' written as one word, not two.

I can't speak to British usage in either case.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. What a fool I have been for simply trusting my Dictionary
I have no idea what style manuals have to do with it, I simply looked the words up in a dictionary.
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