Difference Between Inquiry and Enquiry

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

Inquiry vs Enquiry 

The difference between Inquiry and Enquiry is that the former comes in handy when certain formal and investigative questions are asked from someone. In contrast, the latter is used for questions that are asked casually and without any investigative intention. Another difference between them lies in them in terms of the places where their use is prevalent. The formal and informal touch in them creates a huge distinction. 

Inquiry vs Enquiry

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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 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.

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 of the 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
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19338341.2014.945610
  2. https://ro.uow.edu.au/currentnarratives/vol1/iss2/10/
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