Ensure Vs. Insure: Can You Interchange The Words?

I was working on my edits for my book How To Select Best Selling Non Fiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle and since my brain was muddled with “edits”, I started to second guess myself about the usage for ensure and insure. When I thought about, I wasn’t sure if I really knew the grammatical rules around the usage of both words.  So I looked it up and was satisfied with this answer over at Writer’s Digest:

Q: Are “ensure” and “insure” interchangeable?—AnonymousA: 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.

I use to edit over on the news desk at The New York Times in Washington D.C., and their usage of the word is probably what tripped me up:)

Route Vs Root

Root Or Route – Grammar Tip

root vs routeI was creating some prep work for one of my client’s private VIP days and needed to use the word root. I actually paused for a second, because I had to review in my “mental dictionary” whether or not I had used the word correctly. So anytime I second guess myself about the use of a word, even for a split second, I like to add it here on my site — because I figure there could be a few other people who need a little clarity around the terms as well.

So here we go…root vs route.

In the U.S., we sometimes get confused with the usage of root and route because we are pronouncing route with the oo sound instead of the ow sound. The two words have totally different meanings. You just have to remember which is which.


I typically think of root as the lower part of a plant which is underground. The roots of a tree. Or a carrot is a root vegetable. Yet root has several other definitions and usages:

To dig with your nose or snout – “The pig was rooting for food in the garden.”

To rummage through something – “The dog was rooting through the garbage.”

To cheer or give verbal encouragement for something – “I’m rooting for my alma mater during the game.”


I pretty much think of a map or directions when I hear the term route and that’s because that pretty much is the only definition for the word:

A route indicates a road, course, or way from one place to another, a customary line of travel, a means of reaching a goal, a fixed course for a salesperson or delivery person, or to send on a route.

In Or Into: Grammar Tip

In Vs. Into: Lisa’s Grammar Tip Of The Week

I’ve got a real thing for supernatural fiction and science fiction, so I read quite my share of books on my Kindle. Yet in many of these fun novels, I’ve seen a lot of writers use the prepositions In or Into interchangeably when writing. That’s actually a big boo-boo. So here I am again, to put the issue at rest for my favorite writers and for you too:)

In Vs. Into Definitions…

IN is a preposition used to denote the place where a person or thing, whether at rest or in motion, is present. It expresses a final position.

INTO is a preposition used to denote entrance. It expresses movement.

Examples of In or Into Usage…

Incorrect: I want to go in the kitchen for a minute to use the sink.
Correct: I want to go into the kitchen for a minute to use the sink.

Any questions? Have any more examples. Leave ’em in the comment section below.

Top 70 Prepositions In English Language

Lisa’s Latest Grammar Tip

List of Top 70 Prepositions In The English Language

  1. aboard
  2. about
  3. above
  4. across
  5. after
  6. against
  7. along
  8. amid
  9. among
  10. anti
  11. around
  12. as
  13. at
  14. before
  15. behind
  16. below
  17. beneath
  18. beside
  19. besides
  20. between
  21. beyond
  22. but
  23. by
  24. concerning
  25. considering
  26. despite
  27. down
  28. during
  29. except
  30. excepting
  31. excluding
  32. following
  33. for
  34. from
  35. in
  36. inside
  37. into
  38. like
  39. minus
  40. near
  41. of
  42. off
  43. on
  44. onto
  45. opposite
  46. outside
  47. over
  48. past
  49. per
  50. plus
  51. regarding
  52. round
  53. save
  54. since
  55. than
  56. through
  57. to
  58. toward
  59. towards
  60. under
  61. underneath
  62. unlike
  63. until
  64. up
  65. upon
  66. versus
  67. via
  68. with
  69. within
  70. without

Bring Or Take: Grammar Tip

Lisa’s Grammar Tip For The Day…

Bring Vs. Take Which one is correct usage?
I have to bring my music to the party. OR I have to  take my music to the party?

Here’s a quick explanation so that you get it right every time you sit down to write all your fantastic articles.

Bring is a verb used to show a motion towards you. What this means is that you use bring when something is coming your way.

Please bring my music to me here at the club.
I am at the club already, so the person doing the action is bringing the music to me. That is a motion towards me.

Take is a verb used to show motion away from you. What this means is that you use take when your are moving something away from you.

Please take my music to Betsy at the club.
I am not at the club. I have the music but need it taken somewhere else. This is a motion made away from me.

Now if the content has nothing to do with you – that’s when things get a little tricky.  You can choose to use either bring or take and still be grammatically correct.

Example: The waiter will bring menus to the couple.
Example: The waiter will take menus to the couple.

Comma Errors To Avoid: Grammar Tip

Another Grammar Tip by Lisa…
As I’m on the tail end of doing summer homework with my daughters, one of the writing assignments was a little work on comma usage. Okay, so this was my 3rd grader’s homework assignment yet I see writers, editors, teachers (and myself:) screwing up comma usage everyday. So here we go…5 Comma Errors To Avoid When You Write.

Comma Error One
Forgetting to use a comma after city AND state

It is very common to see people add a comma between a city and state, but forget the comma require after the state.

Incorrect Usage: I left home to fly to San Diego, California today.
Correct: I left home to fly to San Diego, California, today.

Comma Error Two
Forgetting to use a comma after city AND country
Some people think this looks a little funny, but nevertheless, you need to add a comma after a city and a country when used in a sentence.

Incorrect Usage: I am going to Paris, France for a much needed sabbatical.
Correct: I am going to Paris, France, for a much needed sabbatical.

Comma Error Three
Forgetting to use a comma after the day AND year in a sentence with the complete date.

I think I have made this boo-boo on many occasions! I always forget that little comma after the year. Probably because I don’t want to overdo my comma usage. (Writers tend to do that!)

Incorrect Usage: My friend’s new baby was born on May 1, 2009 at 4:00 am.
Correct: My friend’s new baby was born on May 1, 2009, at 4:00 am.

Comma Error Four
Adding an unnecessary comma between a month AND year.

If you aren’t writing the full date (September 1, 2008,) then you do not need the comma between a month and year.

Incorrect Usage: My business made the most income in September, 2008 from ebook sales.
Correct: My business made the most income in September 2008 from ebook sales.

Comma Error Five
Placing a comma outside of quotation marks.

All your punctuation including commas, periods, etc. need to stay inside of the quotation marks.

Incorrect Usage: I am going to watch “True Blood”, on demand this weekend.
Correct: I am going to watch “True Blood,”on demand this weekend.

Who makes up these rules?
LOL:) Not me. In fact, some of these “grammar rules” differ from country to country. For example the last common comma error (quotation marks) is based on U.S. usage. Yet the rules are pretty universal and you can take a look at all of them in the Chicago Manual of Style. A writer’s Bible.

The original source of this list of comma errors and many more fantastic grammar tips can be found on TerriblyWrite.com

Then Vs. Than: Grammar Tip

grammar for dummiesI think we’ve all been a little guilty of this one. You are writing a great article, a letter, or something and you misuse the words then or than. It’s pretty easy to do. So let me explain the difference, so you don’t flub again.

Then is an adverb. It is used for TIME. It can be used several ways to describe:

1 at that time, at the time in question
Example: I was living in New Jersey then.

2 after that, next, afterward
Example: She played the first then the second game.

3 in that case, therefore
Example: If you save your money, then you won’t have to worry about how you will pay your bills.

Than is typically used as a conjunction. It is used for comparisons.

1 introducing the second element in a comparison
Example: He was much bigger than his dad at that age.

2 used in expressions introducing an exception or contrast
Example: She claims not to own expensive jewelry other than her wedding ring.

When making a decision between than or then, than is used for comparisons. If it’s not a comparison, use then.

Resource I like: English Grammar For Dummies

Top Ten Most Misspelled Words

Here’s a list of the top ten most often misspelled words. Pay attention though, because these are words that spellcheck can miss based on the context in which we use the word, or because a few of the words are homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings) and we use them incorrectly in the sentence.

  1. Their
  2. Too
  3. There
  4. They
  5. Then
  6. Until
  7. Our
  8. Ask
  9. Off
  10. Through

Here’s a one-page PDF of this list in case you want to tape it up in front of your desk, computer, etc. area. Click To Download ===> Top 10 Misspelled Words

Can you share some words that you commonly misspell? I’ll go first. I always misspell SEPERATE. In the US anyway, we only acknowledge this spelling: SEPARATE.

Resource I like: English Grammar For Dummies

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