A: Some stylebooks say yes, and some say no. Are you any less confused? These two words are often used in place of each other, but WD’s style separates them.WD—and many other publications—uses “insure” only when referring to financial insurance policies. After signing a contract with a professional baseball team, Jack decided to insure his pitching arm for $1 million. When the meaning is “to make certain,” WD sticks with “ensure.” It’s my job to ensure that you don’t misuse terms like these.
There are some newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, that still use “insure” in both instances, but it’s fairly archaic to do so. Most publications differentiate the two.
Come Join Me (& Other Writer’s Digest Staffers)!
As the online editor of Writer’s Digest (and a published author) I speak at writing events all the time to help others get published. Here’s a list of upcoming events where either I or another Writer’s Digest staffer will offer instruction to help you achieve your writing goals. Come join me!
Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.