Difference Between Inquiry and Enquiry

Main Difference – Inquiry vs Enquiry

Inquiry and enquiry are two spellings of the same word. They refer to question, investigation, or inquest and are derived from the two verbs inquire and enquire. However, some differences can be noted between these two nouns based on their usage. Inquire and inquiry are commonly used in American English whereas Enquire and enquiry are used in British English. Moreover, inquiry specifically refers to an inquest or investigation whereas enquiry refers to a question in British English. This is the main difference between Inquiry and Enquiry.Difference Between Inquiry and Enquiry- infographic

Inquiry – Meaning and Usage

Inquiry is an alternative spelling for inquiry. This noun is commonly used in American English. Inquire is derived from the verb inquire. Inquiry can refer to an act of asking for information or making a formal investigation or inquest. In British English, inquiry is mainly used to denote this second meaning – formal investigation or inquest. The following examples will help you to understand the meaning and usage of this noun more clearly.

The official inquiry revealed that there were inconsistencies in the accounts.

The judge ordered the police to recommence the inquiry.

In response to your recent inquiry, we regret to inform that the deadline for the submissions cannot be extended.

She refused to respond to their inquiries.

The investigators are pursuing a new line of inquiry.

Main Difference -Inquiry vs Enquiry

US Senate Titanic inquiry

Enquiry – Meaning and Usage

Enquiry has the same meaning as inquiry. It is derived from the verb enquire. Enquire and enquiry are more commonly used in British English. The Oxford Dictionary states that enquire is more used for general senses of ‘ask’. Therefore, there is a subtle distinction between these two words in terms of usage. The following examples will help you to understand the meaning and usage of enquiry and enquire more clearly.

She was making enquiries about a Helene Gomez.

I made enquiries about the facilities at the hostel.

The host of the dinner party enquired why we were leaving early.

Although he enquired about the prices, he didn’t buy anything.

Mary enquired about your sister’s health.

Difference Between Inquiry and Enquiry

Enquiry Desk

Difference Between Inquiry and Enquiry


Inquiry is derived from the verb inquire.

Enquiry is derived from the verb enquire.


Inquiry and inquire are more commonly used in American English.

Enquiry and enquire are more commonly used in British English.

Specific Meaning

Inquiry can specifically refer to a formal investigation or inquest.

Enquiry is more used for general senses of ‘ask’.

Image Courtesy:

“US Senate Titanic inquiry” By Louis F. Grant – The Graphic, (Public Domain) via  

“Loughborough University Library” by   via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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