Difference between Assume and Presume

May 31, 2017 by Editorial Team

Let’s take a look at the two sentences below:

“I assume you have read the instructions.”

“I presume you have read the instructions.”

As you can see, both statements are almost the same, except for the words “assume” and “presume.” Some people may say the two statements have different meanings, while others may say they are exactly the same. So which idea is correct? If you don’t know, you’re in the right place. This article will discuss the difference between “assume” and “presume.”

Definitions

Assume vs Presume

The word assume is a verb which means:

1. To suppose without taking into consideration any proof; for example: I assume you like going to the beach.

2. To take on a duty or office; for example: Will the new COO assume office next month?

3. To pretend that you are somebody else; for example: The shop owner wanted to know how his staff members treat their customers, so he assumed the identity of a regular customer.

On the other hand, the word presume is a verb that means:

1. To suppose or guess based on a piece of information or evidence; for example: After working for 18 hours straight, I presume you are exhausted.

2. To do something that you do not have the right to do, typically in a rude manner; for example: It annoys me that Tod presumes to discuss Faye’s actions in front of the class when he was not even present on the day of the incident.

Assume vs Presume

What, then, is the difference between “assume” and “presume”?

The two words have been loosely interchanged in everyday conversations, but they are indeed different. When you use the word “assume,” you suppose something that is not based on a proof or a piece of evidence, but when you say “presume,” you suppose something that is based on a piece of information. In short, whether you should use “assume” or “presume” depends on your level of certainty.

Additionally, “assume” also means “to take on an office or position,” or “to pretend that you are somebody else.” The word “presume” means “to do something which you do not have a right to do, usually in a bold or rude manner.”

Comparison Chart

AssumePresume
To suppose something that is not based on proof or a piece of evidenceTo suppose something that is based on a piece of information or observation
Other meanings include: “to take on an office or position” or “to pretend that you are somebody else”Also means “to do something that you do not have the right to do, typically in a rude manner”