Difference Between Assume and Presume

Assume vs Presume
 

Presume and assume are two verbs that may look alike in the sense , but strictly speaking there is, in fact, some difference between assume and presume in terms of their usage. Presume and assume are both verbs. The adjective of assume is assumable. It can be known as a derivative of the verb presume. Moreover, the verb presume has its origins in the Late Middle English. Presume actually comes from the Old French word presume. When one look at the meanings of these two words, presume and assume, one can see that the meaning of these words goes very close to each other.

What does Assume mean?

The verb assume is usually followed by ‘that’ plus the clause. We can put this in a formula as follows.

assume + that + clauses

Now, let us look at an example that puts this formula into practice.

I assume that you are going to the office today after the long leave.

Here, the speaker takes or accepts something as being true. In this sentence, 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 following example.

He assumed office today.

In this sentence, the verb assume gives the sense that the person undertook duty today. Look at the following sentence.

The problem assumed great proportions.

In the example given above, 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.

Difference Between Assume and Presume

What does Presume mean?

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’. We can put this into a formula as follows.

presume + that+ clause

Look at the sentence given below.

I presumed that the drunken man was taken away by the gurads.

The verb presume gives the additional sense of ‘take the liberty’ as in the sentence given below.

I presumed to question the veracity of the statement made by my boss.

What is the difference between Assume and Presume?

• The verb assume is usually followed by ‘that’ plus the clause.

• The verb assume can be used when the speaker takes or accepts something as being true.

• Sometimes, the verb assume gives the sense of pretending ignorance.

• Also, assume is used in the sense of ‘undertaking an office or duty.’

• The verb assume can sometimes mean ‘putting on oneself an aspect or an attribute’.

• The verb presume, on the other hand, gives the sense of ‘something taken for granted’.

• The verb presume is also followed by that plus the clause.

• The verb presume gives the additional sense of ‘take the liberty’ too.

• 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’.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Assume by Tejvan Pettinger (CC BY 2.0)