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'Inquiry' vs 'Enquiry': What's the Difference?

Shaun Connell
May 7, 2024

If you are looking for an explanation of the difference between 'inquiry' vs. 'enquiry,' you came to the right place.

Here is the short answer in case you are in a hurry: 

  • 'Inquiry' is an English noun that means a formal request for information. 
  • 'Enquiry' is the British English spelling of the American word 'inquiry.' 
  • Both words have the same meaning, and both spellings are acceptable. 

Keep reading to learn more about these terms and when to use each!

What is the Difference Between 'Inquiry' vs. 'Enquiry?'

'Inquiry' and 'enquiry' mean the same thing. They are just two ways of spelling the same term.

The first spelling is preferred in the United States, while the latter is the correct British English spelling.

Either spelling is acceptable as long as you use the same spelling throughout your text.

Definition of 'Inquiry': What Does 'Inquiry' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'inquiry' is a noun that means:

  •  A formal request for information
  • A written request for a report or information on a specific matter
  • An investigation of a public matter
  • Research or examination into principles or facts

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Inquiry'

Synonyms are words like a term you can use instead of another. Here is a list of synonyms for 'inquiry':

  • Investigation
  • Study
  • Discovery
  • Probation
  • Inquest
  • Probe
  • Research
  • Examination
  • Exploration
  • Probing
  • Audit
  • Question
  • Interrogation
  • Delving
  • Examen
  • Trial
  • Quest
  • Question
  • Questionnaire
  • Poll
  • Checkup
  • Hearing
  • Diagnosis
  • Query
  • Check
  • Grilling
  • Cross-examination
  • Quiz
  • Test

Definition of 'Enquiry': What Does 'Enquiry' Mean?

The same source defines 'enquiry' as an alternative spelling to 'inquiry.'

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Inquiry'

The synonyms of 'enquiry' are the same as 'inquiry.' So, here is a list of similar words that are spelled differently in British English speaking countries:

  • Inquirer - Enquirer
  • Inquiry -  Enquiry
  • Inquire - Enquire

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Inquiry' vs. 'Enquiry'

Pronunciation is always critical. However, when you are using terms like these, it helps to know whether their pronunciations are different or the same.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to correctly pronounce 'inquiry':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to correctly pronounce 'enquiry':


Writing Tips: When and How to Use 'Inquiry' vs. 'Enquiry'

So, you learned that the only difference between 'inquiry' vs. 'enquiry' is their spelling. So, how do you know when to use each?

Here are some tips to help you determine when to use 'inquiry' vs. 'enquiry':

  • Use 'inquiry' when you are addressing an American audience.

For example, you could say:

Have you had an opportunity to look over my inquiry? 

  • Use 'enquiry' when you are addressing a British English speaking audience.

As an example, you could say:

Please respond to my enquiry about the pricing for each colour variation

  • Use the spelling that your audience uses consistently.

So, here is an example:

Dear Henry, 

Did you receive my inquiry last week? 




Dear Yvette, 

I apologize, I did receive your inquiry, but I was out of the office last week, and I have been playing catch up. I will look into your inquiry now, and get back to you as soon as possible. 




Dear Henry, 

I received your enquiry last week, but I have a few questions. Do you have a few minutes to jump on a call with me so you can clarify? 




Dear Yvette, 

I do not have time to go over the enquiry today, but I would be happy to set up a call to go over it with you next week. What day works for you? 



Sample Sentences Using 'Inquiry' and 'Enquiry'

Now, read these sample sentences using 'inquiry' and 'enquiry' to ensure that you understand and remember how to use each.


  • We received your inquiry, however, our representatives will not be able to handle your request until the 31st of January.
  • When he received the official inquiry, he knew he had some explaining to do.
  • If you want to inquire about the ingredients used in the dish, you should send an email to the restaurant.
  • Does anyone have the inquiry sent by the legal office last week?
  • I will be out of the office next week. If you have any inquiries in my absence, please email our group mail box, and one of my team members will handle your request.


  • In response to your enquiry about our favorite places feature, we cannot send you a copy of that story, but you can find information on those journeys online at the link below.
  • We received an enquiry about the construction of the new city centre. Do you know when the project is scheduled to start?
  • This is the 21st enquiry we received from the activist group about the new project scheduled for this month.
  • Bella Brackens is a Canadian Best-Selling author. To enquire about scheduling her for speaking engagements, please email [email protected].
  • We are so happy you are back! We received a ton of enquiries when you were out of the office. I don't know how you keep all of those people happy. You must answer more than ninety enquiries every day.

Recap: 'Inquiry' vs. 'Enquiry'

Yay! You finished this entire lesson. Here is a recap of what you learned about the difference between 'inquiry' vs. 'enquiry':

  • 'Inquiry' is the correct American English spelling of the noun for an official request for information. 
  • 'Enquiry' is the British English spelling of the noun, 'inquiry.'

Honestly, you can use either of these spellings. They are both acceptable.

However, if you want to learn how to correctly use other English terms and improve your writing and grammar skills, check out some other writer guides here.

Each lesson contains definitions, sentence samples, and writing tips to help you learn all of the ways to use the terms covered in the post. Furthermore, you can learn about industry trends.

So, come back frequently to learn about grammar rules and freelance writing best practices.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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