Word for Wednesday: Enquiry or Inquiry?

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One common cause of confusion in the English language are the words, enquiry and inquiry and their brothers enquire and inquire.

So, when is it enquire and when is it inquire?

Traditionally, ‘enquire’ is a formalized synonym for the word ‘ask’, whereas ‘inquiry’ is typically used as a substitute for ‘investigation’. It might be useful to remember in-quiry means in-vestigation.

In everyday usage, there is little distinction between the two and you can usually get away with using them interchangeably.

Inquiry is something of an Americanism, and in Britain we tend to lean towards the word enquiry, it seems that neither are strictly incorrect. It is worth understanding, however, the historical uses and choosing which one to use according to your audience.

We hope this clears it up a little for you.

Hugh MacDermott


15 Oct 2014
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One of the students has put in a huge amount of effort in completing Spellzone at least 3 times a week since his arrival with us in January. Looking at his scores after the latest GL testing, his standardised score has risen from 99 to 131. This is a truly phenomenal result. I just wanted to share the best result I have ever seen.

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