When you see the word enquiry, you might think it is just a misspelling of the word inquiry. These words are actually both correct and can be used interchangeably because they have the same meaning. The main difference between the two words is where they are most commonly used.
Enquiry is mostly used in British English and isn’t used much at all in American English. Inquiry is used in both British English and American English.
The word inquiry is most commonly used in American English, but you will also see it used, though less frequently, in British English.
An inquiry is a request for certain information. For instance, if you are interested in buying a car, you will send an inquiry to the car dealership for pricing and other details.
An inquiry also refers to an investigation for an accident. If you get into a car accident, your insurance will start an inquiry to gather all of the details relating to what happened.
Cops will also perform an inquiry when they are interrogating a suspect. In this case, an inquiry is referring to seeking information by questioning. They will likely get the answer to their inquiry after the questioning is complete.
I sent an inquiry to the apartment complex, but I haven’t heard back yet.
I was informed of an inquiry about my services, but when I reached out no one answered.
The inquiry was conducted by the Chief of Police.
A legal inquiry was started to determine the innocence of the accused.
I made sure my lawyers were aware of when the inquiry would be finished.
Enquiry is mostly used in British English. You won’t see it used much in American English, which is why it is commonly mistaken as a misspelled word. Since Americans aren’t typically familiar with British English, their words are often seen as misspelled in the U.S.A.
Enquiry also means to ask or investigate, but it is rarely used to describe an official investigation. You won’t see a police investigation being called an enquiry.
This word is most commonly used when you are trying to figure out more information, such as buying a car or renting an apartment.
I received an email enquiry for course details, so I responded with the proper information.
The answer to my enquiry about the apartment was that it is rented already.
I called to make an enquiry for today’s train schedule, but no one answered.
There has been a massive increase of enquiries for our current operating hours.
The first thing I needed to answer was an enquiry of my name.
I sent the post office an enquiry about my lost package.
What is the Difference?
Inquiry and enquiry have the same meaning. Besides the different spelling, why are these words different? The biggest difference between these words is where they are used. Inquiry is most commonly used in American English, and you won’t see enquiry used very much at all.
Enquiry is most commonly used in British English. You will also see inquiry used in British English, but it is far less frequent. You will typically only see inquiry used to describe a formal investigation.
Since inquiry and enquiry have the same meaning, they can be used interchangeably. However, there are still slight differences to be aware of. Enquiry is only used in British English, not American English. It is used to refer to a question being asked.
Inquiry is used in both American English and British English. In British English, inquiry refers to a formal questioning or investigation. In American English, it refers to both a question and a formal investigation.