“You keep using that word…”: The Princess Bride and Effective Word Choice

Making An Ass Out of U and Me

I recently finished a project in which I had to follow my own advice. The author had reversed the use of presume and assume in the same paragraph. It didn’t sound right to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on why it wasn’t right, so I looked it up!

To presume is to make a supposition that something is the case based on probability.

To assume is to make a supposition that something is the case without any proof.

That’s why assuming when you should be presuming makes an ass out of u and me. Sometimes assumptions are required—i.e. when you have to move forward without information—but we generally live our lives based on presumptions—i.e. making decisions based on what’s more likely.

If you want to read more about the value of looking it up, check out my guest post on Right Angels and Polo Bears: “You keep using that word…” The Princess Bride and Effective Word Choice.