The use of insure vs. ensure might seem fairly straightforward, but I've found multiple instances of its misuse even in that bastion of copyediting, fact checking, and solid writing, The New Yorker. So here we go again:
To insure something means to agree to provide payment to the owner of the thing if something happens to it. You insure your house, your car, and your health. Unless you're talking about something an AllState agent would sell you, you shouldn't be using insure.
To ensure something means to guarantee or make sure that it happens. You insure your health in case you get sick, but you try to ensure good health by eating right and exercising.
incorrect: We hope that the investment in science research today will insure advancements in quality of life in the future.
incorrect: You're required to ensure your car in most states.
I've also seen multiple incorrect uses of tenants to mean tenets. A tenant is a resident of a building. A tenet is a fundamental principle. Thus, religions have tenets, but (one would hope) not tenants.
incorrect: The tenants of Buddhism include rejection of dukkha, or desire.
incorrect: The tenets of the building sued the landlord for negligence.
9 years ago