Inquiry vs Enquiry: Difference and Comparison

Thousands of sentences are spoken by thousands of people day by day, and sometimes one is not sure about something that he is speaking.   

 Inquiry and Enquiry are two of the words in the English language which not only seem identical but sound in an identical manner too. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Inquiry refers to the act of asking for information, while Enquiry refers to the act of investigating or seeking information.
  2. Inquiry is informal, while Enquiry is formal.
  3. Inquiry is commonly used in American English, while Enquiry is used in British English.

Inquiry vs Enquiry 

In American English, ‘inquiry’ is the universally accepted form for both formal investigations and general questions to ask for information. In British English, ‘enquiry’ is used for general questions and ‘inquiry’ is used for formal investigations for asking about information.

Inquiry vs Enquiry

The word ‘Inquiry’ originates from the conjuncture of two words, one of which happens to be a prefix. These two words are- In (prefix)+ Query.

On the other side, Enquiry is a word that has a French language prefix in it. Its correct uses are made when a casual questioning or analysis is sought rather than a formal one.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonInquiry  Enquiry  
Meaning  Inquiry is an English term that conveys the meaning- “A question asked to divulge into the formal investigation”.  Enquiry is an English term that conveys the meaning- “A question asked to casually with an intention to gather more information related to a specific subject matter.”  
Prefix  It carries the ‘In’ prefix, which seeks its origin from the Latin language. The prefix ‘En’, which is associated with this word, originates from the French language to form this word in its true sense. 
Correct Use  This word is used to convey formal inspection or examination in Britain. While in America, it conveys both the references of a formal investigation or casual questioning.  This word has grown obsolete in the United States, but it is used when someone refers to casual questions asked by one person to another person in England.  
Mostly Spoken America and Britain Britain  
Tone It conveys a formal tone It conveys an Informal tone. 
Dominance  This word holds a dominant position as it is recognized by the Oxford dictionary. This has a submissive position. 

What is Inquiry? 

If looked at from the point of view of the exact meaning, the word Inquiry means to have a formal and authoritative investigation or inspection or examination, mostly done by an authority to dig up certain unknown facts.

Also Read:  Luminosity vs Brightness: Difference and Comparison

In Britain, people use this word as per its meaning, but in the United States, people use this word for every act of questioning, be it formal or informal. 

Not only this, but the Oxford Dictionary has also stated that they consider this word a universal word for all acts of questioning. 

inquiry 3

What is Enquiry? 

Enquiry, on the other hand, is a rather submissive and less utilized word referring to an act of inspection.

It contains the French prefix ‘En’ with it. This word has grown obsolete in the United States, but in England, it is used when someone refers to casual questions asked by one person to another person. 

Some examples as to the use of this word are- 

  • He enquired about my result. 
  • My father enquired about my payroll. 

Main Differences Between Inquiry and Enquiry 

  1. Inquiry holds a dominant position over Enquiry in terms of uses all around the world.  
  2. Inquiry carries the ‘In’ prefix, which seeks its origin from the Latin language. While on the other side, Enquiry has the prefix ‘En’ associated with it from the French language.  
Difference Between Inquiry and Enquiry

Last Updated : 23 July, 2023

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