Enquiry vs Inquiry: Learn English

People often confuse between the words enquiry and inquiry. Some even think that these two words have different meanings. So, let us today understand the difference between inquiry and enquiry. Although there is a slight difference between the two, both these words have the same meaning. You can use them interchangeably.

Meaning of both enquiry and inquiry is to ask a question or do an investigation. If you want to ask someone about something, you can enquire or inquire. Both are correct. For example:

George wanted to enquire (or inquire) Ramesh about his visit to the hotel.

Or

Mushtaq was surprised when made an inquiry (or enquiry) in his secretary’s affairs.

Difference Between Enquiry and Inquiry

Alright, now that we know that both these words have same meaning, then what exactly is the difference?

Difference 1: Well, the first difference is that the usage of enquire or enquiry is more common in the United Kingdom (British English). In contrast, inquire and inquiry words find more users in the United States (American English).

Difference 2: There is also a slight difference in connotation. Enquiry is often used while seeking information casually. For example:

Little Pinky’s enquiry in how many candy’s her brother had eaten bore no fruit!

Inquiry is more commonly used in case of formal investigations. For example:

The FBI launched an inquiry into the allegations leveled by the Senator.

Examples of Enquiry and Inquiry

…student enquiry helpline cell received a lukewarm response on the first day as only five calls were received on these

(The Times of India)

…Liverpool and Man Utd ‘make transfer enquiry‘ for Valencia winger Ferran Torres. The Spanish U21 international has had an impressive…

(Mirror.co.uk)

…officers had carried out a number of complex inquiries to identify the suspect…

(BBC News)

…coronavirus outbreak and the response it has required from government means a large-scale public inquiry is now inevitable…

(The Guardian)