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Enquire vs. Inquire: How to use them?

The word inquire means “to probe” or “to conduct a formal enquiry.” The word enquire, on the other hand, is used in the meaning of “ask” or “query.” The fundamental distinction between the two words is this.

Olaoluwa Ajayi
Olaoluwa Ajayi

Enquire and inquire are two words that have some distinctions but are sometimes used interchangeably. Faults frequently replace them.

The word inquire means “to probe” or “to conduct a formal enquiry.” The word enquire, on the other hand, is used in the meaning of “ask” or “query.” The fundamental distinction between the two words is this.

It’s important to note that the verbs enquire and inquire are interchangeable. The terms inquiry and enquiry contain their noun forms. As a result, “police enquiry” and “police inquiry” will be synonymous with “police ask” and “police probe,” respectively.

What does “inquire” mean?

The term inquire signifies “to investigate” or “to make a formal inspection.” Follow the instructions in the three expressions below.

She inquired about the matter.
He inquired about everything that occurred the other day.
The police officer inquired about the death.

Because the word inquire is used in the first two lines in the sense of “probe,” the first sentence’s meaning will be “she inquired into the topic,” while the second sentence’s meaning will be “he investigated what happened the other day.”

The word inquired is used in the last sentence to mean “doing a formal investigation.” As a result, “the police officer conducted an official investigation into the death” would be the meaning of the sentence. Unlike the term inquiry, the word is frequently preceded by the prefix in. This is a significant difference between them. Furthermore, in American English, the word inquire is more commonly used.

What does enquire mean?

To query or to ask a question is to enquire. Take a careful look at the following examples.

He enquired about her well-being.
He enquired about her means of livelihood.

Because the word enquire is used in both sentences as a query or to ask, the first sentence’s meaning will be “He inquired about her well-being,” and the second sentence’s meaning would be “He inquired about her livelihood.” It's worth noting that, as the examples above show, the term is usually preceded by the preposition around. Furthermore, it is customary to inquire in British English in practice.

Summary:

1. To enquire is “to ask a question,” and to inquire is “to make a formal enquiry.”

2. The prefix en is derived from French, whereas in is derived from Latin.

3. “An enquiry” is a request for truth, knowledge, or information, whereas “an inquiry” is a detailed investigation into something.

4. The British prefer the word enquiry, whereas Americans prefer the word inquiry.

5. Although the two terms have different connotations, they are occasionally used interchangeably.

Video examples:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Hysteria (2011)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
EnglishWhich is correct

Olaoluwa Ajayi

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