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Difference Between Assume and Presume

Assume vs Presume

Assume and Presume are two verbs that may look alike in sense. Strictly speaking there is in fact some difference between them in terms of their usage.

The verb ‘assume’ is usually followed by ‘that’ plus the clause as in the sentence ‘I assume that you are going to office today after the long leave’. Here the speaker takes or accepts something as being true. Here the speaker takes that the person reporting to duty in the office as being true.

Sometimes the verb ‘assume’ gives the sense of pretending ignorance. Very interestingly ‘assume’ is used in the sense of ‘undertaking an office or duty’ as in the sentence ‘He assumed office today’. In this sentence the verb ‘assume’ gives the sense that the person undertook duty today.

In the sentence ‘The problem assumed great proportions’, the verb ‘assume’ gives the idea of ‘putting on oneself an aspect or an attribute’. The verb ‘assume’ has the adjective in the form of ‘assumable’. The adverbial form of course is ‘assumedly’. The verb ‘assume’ is derived from the Latin ‘assumere’.

The verb ‘presume’ on the other hand gives the sense of ‘something taken for granted’. It is more powerful than the verb ‘assume’ in its connotation. Like the verb ‘assume’, the verb ‘presume’ is also followed by ‘that’. The verb ‘presume’ gives the additional sense of ‘take the liberty’ as in the sentence ‘I presumed to question the veracity of the statement made by my boss’.

One of the main differences between the verbs ‘assume’ and ‘presume’ is that ‘presume’ gives the additional idea of ‘dare to do something’ as in the sentence ‘I presumed to ask the question’. On the other hand the verb ‘assume’ does not give the additional idea of ‘dare to do something’.


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