If you look up the word enquiry in the online Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, you’ll see no definition but the following remark ‘especially British English another spelling of inquiry‘. To find out what ‘enquiry’ means, you need to click on ‘inquiry’ in bold type.
This is another curious case. Both enquiry and inquiry can mean question, inquest or investigation and be used interchangeably. However, in the UK there’s a slowly growing tendency to use inquiry to refer to the official process to find out about something,
e.g. The villagers are demanding a public inquiry into the fire that destroyed the local school.
whereas the use of enquiry is becoming preferable to mean a question as in
I’d like to make an enquiry about your language courses.
One day enquiry and inquiry are likely to start living their separate lives, but until then you can use whichever you prefer (inquiry is more widely accepted in American English).
You must have come across both variants, probably wondering
which one is more preferable. Well, the quick answer to this question is all
The tea was all right.
Unlike much older mergers such as altogether and already
that are fully acceptable, using alright,
especially in formal writing, is still
highly likely to make your readers think that your English is far from perfect.
Have you ever questioned the purpose of the silent H in ‘ghost’? It’s absolutely useless, but there’s a great story behind it.
It goes back to William Caxton, an English merchant and
diplomat, who lived in the 15th century. While in Germany, he became familiar
with Gutenberg’s latest invention – the printing press, – and liked the idea so
much that he set up one of his own in Flanders.