Do you enquire or inquire about something? Do you make an enquiry or an inquiry?
Reader’s question: What’s the difference between inquire and enquire and inquiry and enquiry?
Answer: Enquire/enquiry and inquire/inquiry, can be used interchangeably.
In the United States, inquire and inquiry are dominant.
In Australia, many people use:
- Enquire to ask
- Enquiry for a request
- Inquiry for an official investigation
That’s my preference even though my spell checker doesn’t like it!
Pam Peters, in The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, says:
‘Given no consistent ways of differentiating the two spellings, and the fact that differentiation is unnecessary, it makes sense to consolidate the use of one or the other. Inquire and inquiry recommend themselves as the spellings made first among equals by the Oxford Dictionary, and the fact that they are strongly preferred in North America.’
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