September 22, 2013
ascertain (verb)
\a-ser-TAYN\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to learn with certainty : find out
How do you use it?
In the class' first big project of the year, students ascertained several ways that the school can conserve energy.
Are you a word wiz?

Try to ascertain the answer to this question: which of the following is a synonym of "ascertain"?

Were you able to ascertain that B, "discover," is the correct answer? Both "discover" and "ascertain" have to do with finding out what you previously did not know. "Ascertain" is used especially when there's an effort to find the facts or the truth about something of which you know you are ignorant or uncertain, as in "We were unable to ascertain the source of the smell." "Discover" often applies to something that requires exploration or investigation or even a chance encounter, as in "We discovered a secret hiding place under the bridge."
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