Difference Between Inquiry and Query

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Inquiry and Query

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When compared to different languages around the world like Latin, French etc. English is seen to be comparatively a new language. Most of the words are frequently extensions and fusions of other primordial languages having similar sounds. Either way, words can be simple or complex. Though they might have the same pronunciation, the spellings may vary from each other. Apart from having different meanings, some words also take various other forms. When the incorrect form is employed, the significance of what a term means might be wiped out. This might lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings. Hence, the English language may sometimes create a hindrance while trying to communicate and understand words. While most of the words may be seen to be used in similar circumstances, their uses vary from each other. For instance: people might often get confused while using the terms inquiry and query. Though they might seem to mean the same thing i.e. to ask questions, their usage varies depending on the depth of the situation in which a question is being asked. So it is obvious that people end up mixing these two words in most cases. This article thus deals with the minute differences that exist between the two.

Inquiry vs. Query

The major distinction between the two terms inquiry and query is that inquiry deals with a legal or a governmental investigation into something. On the other hand, the query is a word which also means questioning; but we use it when expressing a doubt. It might be any challenging information because we think someone might be wrong about it. The query is a word which is quite used in professional English. For instance, if someone says that he has a query about the information provided in the English textbook on page ten it would mean that he is not sure if the information provided here is correct. Thus, it is seen that inquiry is the accumulation of information that allows information to be collected, knowledge to be obtained, and problems to be cleared. And the query, on the other hand, is a part of the process of asking various kinds of questions.

Difference Between Inquiry and Query in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Inquiry Query
Meaning The act of seeking information that leads to a particular solution or clearing of doubt is known as inquiry. The act of interrogating or simply asking questions as a sign of doubt is known as a query.
Interrogation type Inquiry is a systematic investigation of a matter related to the interest of the public or different governmental and legal procedures. Query, on the other hand, is a question which is passed on to a database to retrieve information.
Involvements An inquiry entails investigation, observations, and trials. On the other hand, a query entails asking questions only.
Origin It is derived from the Anglo-French word, enqueren which means to inquire. It originated from the Latin word, quaere which means to ask or to seek.
Depth An inquiry is a more in-depth form of investigation. A query is a simple request for information, compared to an inquiry.
Use While looking for more information, an inquiry is primarily used as a noun. A query can be used as a verb, particularly while asking a question and as a noun while entering information into a database.
Process Inquiry is the process by which knowledge is earned. It gives light and clarity to people, things or ideas that are misunderstood. It is a kind of formal investigation. Query, on the other hand, can be considered as one of the processes used in inquiring. It is a kind of oral request for information. It might also be an expression of opposition against some idea or people.
Spelling  Inquiry is the most common spelling in North America, whereas enquiry is more common in the United Kingdom. The word query is occasionally used in American English to signify "ask a question," without any of the implication of questioning the truthfulness of a message.
Expressions An inquiry expresses the wish to answer uncertainties, offer a solution to issues, and supply information together at the same time. On the other hand, a query expresses uncertainty and hostility to objects, individuals, or concepts.
Examples The committee has authorized an investigation into the allegations of misconduct of academic staff. Further investigation revealed that the youngster in issue was arrested for stealing a motorcycle a few days prior but was freed since the proprietor did not file complaints. I find it difficult to respond to your query on nuclear science because it is my sibling who is the physicist, not me. For the right response to your query, investigation and experimentation are required.

What is Inquiry?

Inquiry can be termed as a systematic investigation into a problem, issue, idea or a topic of importance. It is defined as the search for knowledge. It is a procedure for knowledge acquisition, resolving uncertainties, and solving issues. An investigation sheds light and clarity on individuals, objects, and concepts that are perplexing and misinterpreted. It entails questioning, studying, and trying processes that are required to properly grasp whatever it may be that is being inquired about. It is a formal investigation that looks at truths, theories, and data.

The origin of the word inquiry was in France. It came from the Anglo-French word enqueren which means to inquire or to question. The word can only be used in the noun form. The Inquiry-based Learning Model arose in the 1960s, during the "discovery learning" revolution, and is built on the assumption that people may learn by studying circumstances and issues, as well as via social encounters. Rather than helping learners remember information from written sources, educators encourage them to pursue studies that would engage their interest, increase their depth of knowledge, and enable them to develop their abilities and mental frameworks.

While inquiry stresses questioning and solving problems, it involves different steps in the whole process. They are:

  1. Posing questions for better understanding.
  2. Investigating various scenarios.
  3. Analysing data and offering several descriptions of the data or the information collected.
  4. Informing others about the results either orally or in written form.
  5. Considering or thinking about the facts and knowledge one has attained or gained in the whole process of inquiry-based learning.

Types or Forms of Inquiry

There are generally four types of inquiry. They are as described below:

  1. Confirmation Inquiry: In this form of inquiry, learners are provided with a question along with a procedure or a method. The result that is to be attained after this inquiry process is already known. The purpose is to validate the results. This allows students or learners to reaffirm previously defined concepts and exercise their inquisitive abilities.  
  2. Guided Inquiry: Here, only one question is presented to the learners. The primary purpose of this type of inquiry is to devise an inquiry approach and then test the question itself. This style of question is not often organised and asked logically. They are posted in the unorganized form to understand the learner’s mental capability of understanding them.
  3. Structured Inquiry: In this form of inquiry, learners are given a question along with a strategy to achieve the desired outcome. But the main aim is to produce a solution that has already been backed up by evidence obtained during and after the investigation process.
  4. Open Inquiry: This type of inquiry requires learners to form their questions build research methodologies, and then conduct the investigation. The learners are expected to submit their research findings at the end of the inquiry.

What is Query?

Generally, the query is referred to as asking the question. A query may be directed to an agency or governmental institution. It may also be directed to bring into doubt the veracity of a declaration. The query can also be used as a verb, particularly when asking a question to check the veracity of a claim. It can be verbal or in writing which requests evidence of the accuracy of particular comments or circumstances. It is a query that indicates scepticism and ambiguity regarding the information offered. Its purpose is to verify and investigate the authenticity and truthfulness of individuals, objects, and concepts. It might also be an indication of dissatisfaction with someone or something.

Queries enable users to locate several records that meet certain criteria, make complex calculations, apply various operations to a large set of data and automate functions that are very much essential for managing databases. They also allow for the consolidation of data into manageable units of information for record-keeping. It originated from the Latin word quaere which means to ask or to seek and understand information. 

Types of Query

There are three types of search queries. They are described as follows:

  1. Informational Search Queries: this type of query is typically found in the research phase. Here the user looks for information from various sources. It is related mainly to search engines, web pages and websites. Since search engines like the World Wide Web (WWW) was the earliest to develop to manage big information and the databases, therefore people did informative searches whenever they want assistance, background information, or particular knowledge about a topic or product but have no explicit purpose to purchase or seek out a specific landing page. When a person performs an informative keyword search on Google or some other web browser, they are seeking content. Thus the name Informational Query. They simply want to know the answer to a question or learn how to accomplish stuff. Information-based searches may make use of an endless number of potential keyword variations.
  2. Transactional Search Queries: this type of query indicates a particular intent to complete a transaction such as to purchase an item. Searchers in this category try to obtain a digital good for free or in exchange for cash. They will also use a search engine to find this product and then go to the correct website to complete their purchase. Transactional search queries may also include precise brands (like Motorola g3 or Samsung S2) and general phrases like (washing machine or grinding machine) as buy, purchase or order. People that do transactional searches are more likely to convert than other types of searches. Because many of them will buy anything as soon as they search, these sorts of Google searches are incredibly important.
  3. Navigational Search Queries: navigation oriented searches are directed toward a certain type of website. They are also known as the go search query because when people navigate anything they are looking for specific websites or specific web pages. People want to go to a particular web page and hence their name. The user is not looking for a specific product or company and has no obvious desire to buy. He merely wants to go to a specific sort of website and utilizes the search engine to get there. When the user or the researcher does not know the brand name or the spelling of the name of the brand he is looking for, he will do a navigational search. With such searches, users are usually trying to reach the websites or targeted subpages of brands, businesses, and organizations. For instance; people can navigate search Nike Shoes, or might even add URL to it such as www.nikeshoes.com and so on.

Difference Between Inquiry and Query in Points

  • An inquiry is a process of gathering knowledge on any subject to clear up uncertainties, answer inquiries etc. A query is just the process of asking questions, and it is frequently part of an investigation.
  • An inquiry expresses the desire to answer questions, provide solutions, and provide knowledge equally and at the same time. A query, on the other hand, communicates doubt and antagonism toward items, people, or concepts.
  • Inquiry is the process of acquiring knowledge. It sheds light and clarification on misunderstood persons, things, or concepts. It is an official investigation of sorts. A query, on the other hand, is a type of oral request for information. It might also be a statement of dissatisfaction.
  • Inquiry originated from an Anglo-French word. On the other hand, the query originated from a Latin word.
  • While the inquiry has two spellings in North America and one in the United Kingdom, the query has just one.


Thus from the above description, we can conclude that there are very minute differences between an inquiry and a query. The query is the procedure that is used in an inquiry. It is a term that is placed inside the umbrella term inquiry. The usage of the word query can be both in terms of verb or noun, oral or written but the inquiry is only used in the noun form for asking questions and solving misunderstandings or clearing doubts. Despite possessing these small differences, they are also used interchangeably in various situations.



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"Difference Between Inquiry and Query." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 12 Jul. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-inquiry-and-query-240>.

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