Should you use assume or presume?

Notes from the video ‘Diffusion|PSLE English|Assume Vs. Presume‘ :

What are the differences between presume and assume?

Assume is a verb which means “to take for granted” or “suppose”.
You use “assume” when you are supposing without proof or the speaker does not feel certain about his or her assumption.

For example,
If you meet someone with blue eyes and you think that’s her natural eye colour,
You could say, “I assume that’s your natural eye colour.”

This person could be wearing coloured contact lenses, so you aren’t sure about your supposition. That’s why you use the word “assume”.

Assume is often used in debate or arguments.
A person usually assumes what his or her debate partner say is true for the sake of argument.
For example, a person could say
“Even if we assume what you say is true, we will still reach the same conclusion.” and go on to make his or her case.


What about presume?
Presume is a verb that means to suppose something to be the case based on probability or to make an informed guess.

The difference between an assumption and a presumption is that the latter is made based on probability or evidence while the former is made without any certainty or proof.

Here are some examples of how you could use “presume” in a sentence:

After a long run in the park, you could tell your partner, “I presume you are thirsty.”

Or when you saw a man and a woman going to a shop selling wedding gowns, you would say to your friend, “I presume they are getting married.”

It is important to note that sometimes presumption could be wrong as well.

For example, the man and woman could be the best man and maid of honour for another couple who is getting married.


Here’s a trick to remember the difference between the words:

When you presume something, it’s based on proof. Both presume, and proof start with P’s.
On the other hand, when you assume something, you just accept something to be the case without proof, both accept and assume starts with A.

Other related content:

Whom vs Who
Much vs Many
Em Dash



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