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Grammar Supposition: Presume the Following Assumption



Assume’ or ‘presume’?

Presume: to take for granted, assume, or suppose

Suppose to assume (something), as for the sake of argument or as part of a proposition or theory

Assume: to take for granted or without proof: to assume that everyone wants peace. Synonyms: suppose, presuppose; postulate, posit.

In common usage both assume and presume can mean ‘suppose’ and are often interchangeable in this meaning.  However, technically there is a subtle difference between the two where presume is to ‘suppose to be the case on the basis of probability’:

two of the soldiers are missing and presumed dead

Assume on the other hand is to ‘suppose to be the case without proof’:

I simply assumed it to be true

Both words also share other meanings that can be summarized as ‘to take on oneself’. In this sense assume is generally used to describe taking on a role:

I assumed the role of the captain of the team

Whereas presume is generally used when taking on an attitude:


he had presumed too great a level of familiarity

- DJK


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