Assume vs Presume

I tend to like using the term “presume” because I think it makes me sound smart or something silly like that. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if what I was doing was actually correct, so I decided to make a post on assume and presume. These words are used almost interchangeably now, but there are still some subtle differences between the two.

Assume

To assume is to essentially presuppose something without actually having proof of it. For example, “I assume you’ll attend the party next week.” There’s no proof that you WILL go to the party next week, but maybe you like parties or something, so I would assume that you would come.

Presume

Presume is essentially assuming something, but in a way that takes something for granted. For example “Since you’re an English major, I presumeyou know what a preposition is.” Again, you don’t have PROOF that I know what a preposition is, but you’re taking for granted the fact that I’m an English major. It’s somewhat presumptuous and basically indicates that one thing MUST lead to another, whereas assume is basically guessing.

Final Thoughts

Although the saying goes “If you assume, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me,'” it’s really probably worse to presume something. You end up taking for granted an aspect of the person you’re presuming about. Try to remember that it is “presumptuous to presume” and you should be on the right track. Good luck!

Posted in Grammar Quick Fix.