Thursday, March 13, 2008

Commonly misused/misspelled words and phrases (part 21)

Many words are misused/misspelled/mispunctuated in everyday use. Here are some more:

Assure vs. ensure vs. insure

Wrong: Insure that she gets home safely.
Right: Ensure that she gets home safely.

Assure means to make someone confident of something, just as to do so again is to reassure him or her. To make certain of something is to ensure that it happens, while insure specifically refers to insurance. I might assure you I will ensure that a package will arrive safely; but just in case, you might want to insure the package.

ATM machine / PIN Number

Wrong: Let me get some money from the ATM machine.
Right: Let me get some money from the ATM.

Because ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine, it’s redundant to say, in effect, Automated Teller Machine machine. Similarly, “PIN number” means Personal Identification Number number.

There are plenty more misused words where these came from. I'll have more for you very soon.


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