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Inquire vs Enquire. Learn their use easily

Once you are through with this blog, you will no longer have doubts regarding inquiry and enquiry. You will access hacks to accelerate your English language learning too.

English can be a tricky language. For example, it has 24 letters but 44 different sounds, silent letters, homophones(words with the same sounds but different spellings and meanings).

And on top of it, there are spellings variations between British/Australian English and American English.

Phew, that is a lot to handle for anyone who is not a native English speaker!

The English language experts at Edulyte often have observed that learners struggle with using the two words “enquire” and “inquire.”

So they have created this blog to help you understand how to use these two words and explain the difference between them.

Difference between Enquiry and Inquiry

There is no earth-shattering difference between the two. Yes, you read that right. So then why the chaos over their use?

Well, both of them have a Latin origin and mean ‘to ask for information.’

And both of them are used in a formal situation.

You may use any one of the two. There is no harm in that. What should be kept in mind is the place you use it. There is a difference when you use these terms in the UK.

When to use Inquire vs Enquire?

A great many debates have occurred over this question.

Inquire is strongly used in American English. It is used when asking for details or general information.

  • Inquire is strongly used in American English. It is used when asking for details or general information.

    Example: The police came to inquire about our neighbours.

  • In British English, inquire is usually employed for official purposes.

    Example: The committee will inquire into the funds used during the event.

  • Enquire is used in British/Australian English for general queries or investigations.

    Example: I am going to my boss to enquire about my raise.

  • Note

    Inquire is used similarly in British/Australian English today as in American English. But enquire is not used for official communication or query.

Example of Inquire vs Enquire

  • British English

    Inquire and inquired: for formal communication

The interview panel inquired about my work experience.
If you wish to inquire about your application status, you need to visit the office in person.

  • British English

    Enquire and enquired: less formal situations

My friends enquired about my health after my operation.
May I enquire about the cost of this dress?

  • American English

    Inquire, inquired: formal and informal situations.

My friends enquired about my health after my operation.
May I enquire about the cost of this dress?

What are enquiry and inquiry?

They are just the noun forms of the verbs enquire and inquire. They have the same meaning, “asking for information or “investigating”.

American English uses inquiry for both meanings, whereas British and Australian English prefer enquiry for “asking for information” and inquiry for “an investigation.”

Pronunciation of inquire and enquire

A constant worry for non-native English speakers is the pronunciation of words. So are inquire and enquire pronounced the same way? If you are conversing with a native English speaker and there is a constant flow of words, both sound the same.

If spoken slowly with enunciation, there is a difference in how these words are spoken. A better way to understand the pronunciation is with the help of the table below:

WordPhonetic SoundPronunciation
Inquire /ˌɪn ˈkwaɪr/ /ɪ/ here is the sound in "bin."
Enquire/ˌɛn ˈkwaɪr//ɛ/ here is the sound in "pen."

When you hear the native speaker use the words, they would sound the same to you, but it isn’t so. So practice speaking the words slowly to get the pronunciation correct.

How to learn English quickly?

You may want to improve your proficiency in the English language for better study or work opportunities. Or you might wish to communicate effectively in the language. There are specific foolproof methods to pick up English with ease. They include:

  • Listen carefully

    Pay attention to the native speakers of English. Be attentive to the lines of the English songs you listen to. Your mind picks up the correct way of speaking through this practice.

  • Build your vocabulary

    Note down the new words that you come across and mention their synonyms. Go through them regularly. Your word knowledge will be fantastic in no time!

  • Join Edulyte's English classes

    As the sessions are customised as per the requirements of the learners. You can learn and practice English with qualified tutors from anywhere and anytime.

Speak Speak Speak: this is the best way to become fluent and confident with the language. Do not give up on any opportunity to try out your language learning and converse in the language.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Inquiry means to ask or to investigate. It can be easily used in a sentence like:

 

Inquired about his well being.

 

In American English, inquire is used for both formal and informal situations. But traditionally, in British/Australian English, it is employed for formal scenarios:

 

The trustees inquired the dean about the admission scandal in the university.

Inquire means to ask or to investigate. In British/Australian English, it means formal investigation. These days it is used to mean asking for general information as well.

 

Example: We inquired about the musical's show timings at the theatre.

Enquire is a word that is used in British or Australian English. It means to 'ask.' Enquiry is used in less formal or informal scenarios.

 

Example: My aunt enquired about the shop where I bought the organic produce.

The mere figures state their importance. It is the official language in 53 countries. With the number of people choosing to study the language increasing every year, it is also in demand. Moreover, being the language of the internet, English also allows you to study, work, live and travel in countries across the world.

 

Knowledge of this language is appreciated and is counted as an essential skill today.

English in Australia shares an affinity with British English. The spellings and vocabulary are also more in sync with British English. So an apartment is a flat in Australia, and traveled is travelled.

 

Of course, English has been adapted and changed to include several slangs which are uniquely Aussie.

 

Breakfast is Breaky

 

Sunglasses are Sunnies

 

Good on ya means well done.

 

Also, the pronunciation is distinctive from English heard in other parts of the globe. For example, Australian English is not a rhotic variety. This means the/r/ sounds pattern is more similar to British English than American English.

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