Ink Thinkin

Random thoughts from Dy Larson of Ink Think, freelance editor and copywriter

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Word Love - Enquiry v. Inquiry

Word love? Yes, that's the title because, quite frankly, I love words. I love the way we have such a variety of ways to express ourselves with language. I'm hoping to make this a semi-regular feature as I come across words that pique my interest.


I was working on a piece for a client this morning and was trying to decide whether I should use inquiry or enquiry and if there was a significant difference between the two.

I found there isn't really one, it seems to be a matter of preference.

Inquiry is a question or the examination of something in the search for information (truth)

Enquiry is a variant of inquiry. If you dig a little deeper, since that's the first line of the definition in several of the dictionaries I reviewed, the definition of the word for itself is not exactly the same. Enquiry covers the ground of inquiry as a question, a request for information or the search for knowledge, but it is also the term more likely to be used when referencing the research of a matter of public interest or law (i.e. there was en enquiry into President Clinton's dealing with Ms. Lewinsky).

So, both are correct. From what I've seen inquiry seems to be more commonly used in American English and enquiry in British English, but maybe that's just my perception of the matter. Inquiry also seems to be more frequently used in business writing where enquiry seems to appear more in social and literary writing.


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