Ensure or Insure

Once learned, the difference between the two words should be simple, though even The New Yorker, which takes pride in its unique prescriptive snobbery, has confused insure for ensure. Wherease ensure means to make certain that something will occur or take place, insure strictly means to arrange indemnity for or against something or someone. The mistaken use of in- for en-, although not terribly common, can lead to confusing and sometimes humorous implications: I shall ensure your suffering means I will make certain that you suffer, but I shall insure your suffering means I’ll arranged monetary compensation in case you cheer up—a minute difference between a capitalist and a villain.