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 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 Learners’
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And for more information, go to our website, of course. bbclearningenglish.com. That’s
it for this week’s Learners’ Questions. I’ll see you next time. Bye!