Difference Between Assume and Presume
Assume vs Presume
These two terms, assume and presume, are nearly synonymous and many dictionaries include one in the definition of the other. The element that is most common in the definitions of these two terms is acceptance without significant investigation. Both have definitions that refer to the taking on of roles and duties not only the formation of opinions or assessments. There is the obvious difference in the ‘as’ and the ‘pre’ in the words. These are significant and shouldn’t be discounted. ‘As’ means ‘toward’ and ‘pre’ means ‘prior to’.
So, assume can be used to refer to when a thought or opinion is held without reason. This could be based on past experience, for example. It can also refer to when an individual takes on or takes over duties or roles. One of the differences of these two terms is the use of assume to communicate acting or pretending. This might be when an actor assumes a commanding role for example. It’s an interesting difference and illustrates the difference of the prefixes. There are other definitions that are similar in nature to the elements that are shared by assume and presume.
Presume also can refer to when something is believed or an opinion is held without the requirement of proof. It can also refer to taking on duties or roles, though it is sometimes defined with a certain amount of arrogance. There is also a connotation of legality and some definitions of presume define it as a legal term. There is also a definition that is singular to presume and that is of taking advantage of something or someone. For instance, ‘you shouldn’t presume to their kindness’.
The distinctions between these words are slight in many cases. Despite that there are a number of cases that may merit one or the other for proper usage. Take this into consideration when you are choosing whether to use presumes or assume.
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