Assume vs presume, when to use which? If you are also as confused as I was, keep reading. We’ll decode this mystery together. The basic meaning of both is the same, which is to take something to be true. The difference lies in the fact of how convinced you are that it is, in fact, the truth.
So, What’s the difference between Assume & Presume?
|Meaning||The verb ‘Assume’ means to suppose something to be the case without having any solid proof.||The verb ‘presume’ means to suppose something to be the case based on the likelihood.|
|Examples||“Hey, you can’t just assume that a person is trustworthy.”||“The teacher presumed that the third-year students had a basic knowledge of the subject.”|
So, just because we have been using the words ‘Assume’ & ‘Presume’ often, we shouldn’t assume that we know their meaning. In this article, I have tried to explain the difference between the two words in as simple words as I could. Let’s begin!
Definition of ‘Assume’
Assume is a verb, and according to the Oxford Learning Dictionary, assume means ‘to think or accept that something is true but without having proof of it’.
Assume doesn’t have one definition, it can be used in various contexts, meaning various things. Assume is also used in a manner to take charge of a duty or a task. For example, Tim will assume the role of the CEO in a week. It also means pretending to embrace any quality, like assuming a false identity. In that sense, it can also mean to ‘take on’ or ‘take up’ something.
Definition of ‘Presume’
Presume is a verb and it can be used as a transitive and intransitive verb. As per the Oxford Learning Dictionary, the definition of presume is ‘to suppose that something is true, although you do not have actual proof’. Presume is also used in a legal sense, i.e. in absence of contradicting facts or proofs, the court supposes something to be true. Another meaning of presume is, to act without any authority, to dare. Eg: Don’t presume on their hospitality.
Assume v/s Presume
Assume and presume are derived from the same Latin word ‘sumere’ which means to ‘take up’. Hence, they have overlapping meanings and are often used as synonyms for each other. The difference between the two is almost negligible, it is the proof or certainty. If you are taking something to be true without any proof, you are ‘assuming’ it to be true. On the other hand, if you are supposing something to be true, based on any facts, or proof, or probability, then you are ‘presuming’ it to be true. With presumption, you suppose something before it happens, because that is the likelihood. Whereas, with assumption, you base your belief on no proof or likelihood. You are just guessing right, left, and center.
Examples of assume are:
- She was ready to assume the role of the manager of the office.
Here, assume is used in a sense, to take up some responsibility.
- Larry assumed that Lauren was a part of the Smith family.
In this sentence, it is used to show that he guessed something, without any proof.
Example of presume:
- The accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
This is a very common sentence in the law community. Here, the supposition is made before the verdict is arrived at.
- Because the lock was open, Tim presumed that the shop had been broken into.
Here, presume is used in a way, that since there was proof, Tim reached this supposition.
We presume we’ve decoded this mystery for you and hopefully, you won’t make any assumptions when trying to differentiate between assume and presume.