If you’re anything like me, when you write a phrase, there will be times when you question whether the phrase you’ve just written is a grammatically correct one. And one phrase that always used to confuse me is “to inquire”. Is it correct to say “to inquire about something”?
Is It Correct “To Inquire About Something”?
“To inquire about something” is a grammatically correct phrase. To “inquire” means to ask for information. However, the phrase slightly useless as you may as well just tell the listener what you would like to inquire about- “something” is too broad!
What Does It Mean “to Inquire About Something”?
To inquire is just a slightly (but not very) fancy way of asking for information. If you inquire about something, you are asking to be told about it.
This could mean that you want to know how you can get hold of a product or service. Or, you may just have some questions that you want to be answered.
If you were to say “I would like to inquire about something”. My response might be “What would you like to inquire about?”. Because, “something” is a very broad topic that can cover a lot, so it makes sense that I would like to narrow it down a bit.
To Inquire About Something VS To Ask About Something
One word that might seem similar to inquire is “ask”. Although there are similarities, to ask is different from to inquire.
With “inquire”, you can only get information- no physical objects or services. But when you “ask” for something, you can still ask for information, but you can also ask for anything else- not that you’ll get it, but you can still ask.
“Inquire” also needs to be followed by a preposition (such as about). You can’t inquire for a drink. But you can ask for a drink.
Four Different Types Of Inquiries- It’s More Broad Than You Think
“Inquire” is a much broader term than many of us think. By changing the preposition after it, we can change the type of inquiry we’re making. Here are some of the types of inquiring.
- Inquire of
To ask someone.
“I inquired of my wife when I found texts”
- Inquire after
Ask about someone’s health
“I want to inquire after your sister. I heard she had an accident
- Inquire for
Ask to speak to someone.
“I’m here to inquire for the manager”
- Inquire into
“I need to inquire into this situation”.
“To Inquire About Something” Might Not Be Needed All The Time
But, back to the phrase “to inquire about something”.
We’ve already established that it is a grammatically correct phrase. But, that’s not to say it’s always needed.
“Yes, I stole it, and the sky is blue” is grammatically correct, but “the sky is blue” doesn’t need to be said.
The point I’m trying to make here is that there is no need to say “I would like to inquire about something” because “something” is too broad to be helpful.
If I know the person I’m talking to can help me, I would just ask the question.
If you’re unsure, say “I would like to inquire about [topic]” and they can tell you whether or not they’ll be able to help.
“To Inquire About Something” Synonyms
But for course, there are other ways to say “to inquire about something”
- To inquire about something
- To ask about something
- To make inquiries about something
- To ask a question about something
- To pose a question about something
- To request information about something
- To want to know about something.
- To look to someone for answers about something
- To conduct an inquiry about something
- To investigate something
- To search for something
- To study something
- To check out something
To Inquire About Something Vs To Enquire About Something
A word that sounds similar to “Inquire” is “Enquire”. There is literally one letter of difference between the two, and when you say them, they sound almost identical.
And the reason for that is they mean the same thing.
The only difference between “inquire” and “enquire” is that the Americans prefer “inquire” but the British prefer “enquire”.
Which one is best to use depends on which side of the pond you’re on.
There isn’t a reason why Americans and Britons have a different way of saying “inquire”, it just is because it is.
13 Examples Of “to Inquire About Something”
- “Hello. I’m here to inquire about something”
- “Get the boss. I have to inquire about something”
- “I’m only here to inquire about something. So I shouldn’t take more than five minutes”
- “I want to inquire about something. It’s about the opening times of your shop”
- “If you want to inquire about something, you first need to fill out a form”
- “She said she only came to inquire about something. But then left with three shopping bags. Typical woman”
- “Men go to the bookies to inquire about something, and then leave having lost $400”
- “I’m only here to inquire about something. You don’t have to worry”
- “Don’t go there to inquire about something. They’ll ask you to buy something or get out”
- “I went to the bookshop to inquire about something and ended up buying five volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica
- “I walked in to inquire about something. That was five years ago, I’ve been a loyal customer ever since”
- “I first met her when she wanted to inquire about something. We’ve been married for 44 years tomorrow”
- “700 years since we went to Rome. Just to inquire about something”
And now, not only do you know what it means “to inquire about something”, but you also know that it’s a grammatically correct (but potentially useless) phrase.
To inquire is similar to asking, but there is only one thing you can inquire for, and that is information. However, you can inquire information about a person, from a person, about their health, etc. You can even inquire about a company or a situation.
Hopefully, this article has made it clear what it means to inquire about something. And next time you want to use that phrase, you will know how to do so without breaking any grammar rules.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.