Today’s grammar tip: Some reassurance about “assure,” “ensure,” and “insure.”

These three terms sound a lot alike, but they do indeed have different meanings. To tell them apart, think of the phrase, “Well, that’s reassuring.” Sarcasm or not, you’re talking about how someone feels. Of the three terms, “assure” is the only one that applies to people. In contrast, “ensure” refers to making sure something will or will not happen. That’s why we can often replace “ensure” with “make sure” as a quick way to avoid repetition. Last, “insure” is best used when talking about insurance or underwriting financial risk.

In a nutshell, we assure people and we ensure occurrences: “Rest assured, your flights were insured, which has ensured that you won’t lose any money.” (Hopefully, this is what the airlines told those of us who had flights booked this spring and summer.)