Enquire About Something: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 31, 2023

The idiom "enquire about something" is a commonly used expression in the English language. It refers to asking for information or details about a specific subject or thing.

In short:

  • "Enquire about something" means to ask for information or details about a particular subject or matter.

What Does “Enquire About Something” Mean?

The idiom "enquire about something" is widely used to describe the act of asking for information. The details could be about a person, place, object, or even a situation.

Here's what you need to know about this expression:

  • It represents the act of seeking information.
  • Often used formally, particularly in business and legal contexts.
  • Variations include "inquire about something," both meaning the same.

Before jetting off on a new adventure, many people enquire about the local customs and culture. The idiom is not confined to any particular subject or area and can be used in various contexts. Whether you draw a blank on something or are delving deep into a subject, this idiom will likely find its way into your expression, a testament to its lasting impact on the English language.

Where Does “Enquire About Something” Come From?

The idiom has its roots in the English language, with "enquire" originating from the Old French word "enquerre." The origin of the idiom “enquire about something” is closely tied to the history of the English language. The word "enquire" can be traced back to the Middle English period, where it was used in the same sense it is today, meaning to ask or investigate something.

Historical Usage

"I do earnestly enquire about the health of your dear family."

- Letter from John Adams, 1790

In the early usage of this word, there were distinct forms for “enquire” and “inquire,” though the differentiation has lessened over time.

“The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right! Nay, come, let's go together.”

– Enquiring about the nature of time, Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

The phrase has been used in literature and official documents throughout history, reflecting the timeless act of seeking information. Whether it’s a simple question or a detailed investigation, “enquire about something” has become a mainstay in English, symbolizing the natural human curiosity to learn and understand.

10 Examples of "Enquire About Something" in Sentences

Before we delve into examples, it's worth noting that the idiom can be used in various ways and contexts. Here are some examples:

  • I called to enquire about the job vacancy.
  • She will enquire about the school's curriculum before admitting her child.
  • The detective enquired about the suspect's whereabouts.
  • We enquired about the flight delays when we were torn between two options.
  • Please enquire about the package details at the reception.
  • He enquired about the health of his colleague who was ill.
  • They enquired about the price before purchasing the product.
  • The manager enquired about the progress of the project.
  • I enquired about the conference schedule.
  • She was in-between two choices and enquired about both before making a decision.

Examples of “Enquire About Something” in Pop Culture

In the world of popular culture, language plays a significant role in creating connections and conveying emotions. The idiom "enquire about something" is no stranger to this world. Its use in films, television shows, music, and literature is a testament to its versatility and relevance. This section examines some notable examples of how people have used this phrase.

  • In the film "The Godfather," a character enquires about the family business.
  • A song by The Beatles, "A Hard Day's Night," indirectly enquires about working life.
  • In the TV show "Breaking Bad," Walter White enquires about the drug trade.
  • Sherlock Holmes often enquires about clues in his investigations.
  • In the novel "Pride and Prejudice," characters enquire about each other's social status.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Enquire About Something"

The phrase “enquire about something” is quite versatile, and there are several ways to convey the same meaning using different expressions. Here's a look at some alternative ways to say it:

  • Ask about: A straightforward way to express the act of seeking information about a particular subject.
  • Inquire about: People commonly use this phrase, similar to "enquire," to ask for information or details.
  • Probe into: This can imply a deeper or more thorough investigation into a subject or matter.
  • Investigate: Often used when looking for detailed information or conducting a thorough examination.
  • Query: People can use this formal word to signify asking questions about something, especially in an official context.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Enquire About Something”:

  • How can I use “enquire about something” in a sentence?

You can use this idiom when asking for information or details about something specific. For example: "I will enquire about the meeting's agenda."

  • Is “enquire about something” a formal expression?

Yes, the phrase is often considered more formal and is commonly used in business and legal contexts.

  • Does the idiom have different meanings?

No, the idiom generally has one main meaning related to asking for information about a specific subject or matter.

  • Can people use "enquire about something" in everyday conversations?

Yes, while considered somewhat formal, it is also acceptable to use this idiom in everyday conversations, especially when seeking detailed information.

  • Why is it important to know the idiom “enquire about something”?

Knowing this idiom can enhance your understanding and use of English, especially in formal settings. It helps in communicating the act of seeking information effectively.

  • Is there a difference between British and American usage of “enquire about something”?

In British English, "enquire" is more commonly used, whereas "inquire" is often preferred in American English. The meaning, however, remains the same.

  • Where can I find examples of “enquire about something” in literature or media?

You can find examples of this idiom in various books, films, and television shows. It's often used by characters to express the act of seeking information or understanding.

  • Can people use "enquire about something" in formal settings?

Yes, the idiom "enquire about something" is suitable for both formal and informal settings. It can be used in professional emails, official documents, or casual conversations to indicate the act of seeking information or clarification about a particular subject or matter.

  • Is there a difference between "enquire" and "inquire" when used in the phrase "enquire about something"?

While "enquire" and "inquire" are often used interchangeably, some English language guides make a distinction between the two. "Enquire" is generally used in British English to mean asking for information, while "inquire" is often used in American English or in formal investigations. 

  • How can I use "enquire about something" in my daily communication?

The idiom "enquire about something" can be seamlessly incorporated into everyday communication. For example, you might use it when asking for details about an upcoming event ("I'll enquire about the venue's capacity").

Final Thoughts About “Enquire About Something”

People frequently use the idiom "enquire about something" in everyday language, so understanding it is essential. We can summarize the idiom's significance as follows:

  • The phrase "enquire about something" has deep historical roots.
  • Its use spans casual speech, literary works, pop culture, and formal settings.
  • It symbolizes the universal human act of asking, seeking, and learning.
  • In various contexts like travel, decision-making, and legal matters, this idiom holds relevance and applicability.

In the ever-changing landscape of language, this idiom stands as a reminder of the timeless nature of curiosity and the quest for knowledge. Its continued presence in our conversations and stories underlines its enduring significance and its ability to bridge the in-between spaces of understanding.

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