Difference Between Inquiry and Query

English is fairly new compared to others, like Latin, Spanish, or even Sanskrit. The words are, more often than not, derivatives and amalgamations of other similar-sounding words in other primitive languages.


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Thus the English language can sometimes be very difficult to tackle; the slim difference between words like “affect and effect”, “further and farther”, and “its and it’s” are all examples of the same. Sometimes even the most grammatically correct individuals mix these seemingly harmless words.

Another pair of such words are “Inquiry and Query”. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Inquiry refers to a request for information, while a query refers to a specific request for data or records from a database or system.
  2. Inquiry is usually a general request for information, while a query is a more focused request that requires a specific response.
  3. Inquiry is used in various contexts, such as research, customer service, and investigation, while queries are more commonly used in computer programming and database management.

Inquiry vs Query

Inquiry is a general term that refers to seeking information or knowledge for a specific purpose or intention, used in various contexts, including academic, scientific, and legal fields. A query is a specific request for information made in a database or search engine context.

Inquiry vs Query

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Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonInquiryQuery
DefinitionAn inquiry is an act of seeking information that leads to the resolution of doubts.It is the act of asking questions.
UsageIt is mostly used as a noun when seeking information.It can be used as a verb, especially when asking a question, and as a noun when passed to a database.
ExampleThe board members have ordered an inquiry into the alleged misconduct of the other faculty.The professor clarified the student’s query about physics by giving a real-life example.
OriginDerived from the Anglo-French word “enquête”.Derived from the Latin word “quaere”, which means to ask or seek.
SpellingThe North American spelling is inquiry, while the British spelling is enquiry. There is only one spelling which is “query”.

What is Inquiry?

The basic definition of Inquiry is seeking information by asking questions or interrogating in a more professional setting to resolve doubts and get answers. It is generally used as a noun derived from the Anglo-French word “enquere”.

An Inquiry-based learning model was developed in the 1960s based on the idea that individuals can navigate through a situation, face and solve problems and learn from their experiences. 

With this study, instructors and teachers encouraged the students to follow five simple steps: ask questions, probe into various situations, conduct analysis, provide a description, communicate findings and finally absorb and process the information gathered.

This process is based on the learners or the pupil instead of the materials used, which are auxiliary here.

Thus this method is more about information processing and understanding than just gathering or memorizing it.

The four most common forms of inquiry are confirmation inquiry, wherein the pupil is encouraged to confirm an already known phenomenon by asking questions and making an inquiry.

This helps them reinforce established ideas and get better at investigation. The second type is structured inquiry; this method is based on getting an explanation of the answer the learner may already know; here, they are already guided about the kinds of questions to ask and how to navigate through the situation.

The third is a Guided inquiry where they are only given a question and have to design the method to get the answer. Finally is the open inquiry, where the learner asks questions independently. 

All these methods are used in a police investigation as well and are mandatorily taught to detectives. There is also different spelling for the same word in different parts of the world, like inquiry, enquiry, and even enquire. 

inquiry 3

What is Query?

A query is a simple process of asking questions and is often a part of the whole “inquiry” process, and it can be used both as a verb and noun instead of just a noun as in the case of an inquiry. It is derived from the Latin word “quaere, ” meaning to ask.

Thus the word to is used to seek and understand information.

There are generally three types of queries Navigational search queries, Informational search queries, and Transactional search queries, especially in the internet lingo. The first one is a search for a certain specific webpage or website.

The second is gathering information or knowledge from various sources and multiple web pages or websites. Finally, the third type is to complete a transaction. Suppose while purchasing an item, one may ask questions about the product.

There is also a computer language called a query, a different topic. The different examples of the query are when in noun form, it can be used in a sentence like “ I have a query about my treatment” and as a verb in a sentence like “ The young boy quired about the new book to the librarian”. 


Main Difference Between Inquiry and Query

  1. An inquiry seeks information on any topic to resolve doubts, answer questions, etc. A Query is just the process of asking questions and is often a part of the inquiry.
  2. Inquiry can only be used as a noun, while query can be used both as a verb and a noun.
  3. The Origin of “inquiry” is Anglo-French from the word “enqueren”, while “query” is Latin in origin from the word “quaere”.
  4. The North American and British spelling differs for inquiry or enquiry, respectively, while “query” only has one spelling.
  5. Example: Upon further inquiry, the man confessed to stealing.

Example: The teacher asked the students to ask their queries without hesitation. 

Difference Between Inquiry and Query
  1. https://journals.lww.com/jaanp/Fulltext/2019/03000/Reemphasizing_the_value_of_query_letters_in_the.1.aspx
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11251-011-9203-4.pdf
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