Alex Steer

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The Inquiry enquires

178 words

An email conversation about the Iraq War Inquiry led to a query about spelling when a friend referred to it as an 'enquiry', to which another friend replied that 'the inquiry enquires'. Does it?

I asked the British National Corpus for an up-to-date view of things (until 1993, anyway).

First, here's the number of hits for each form of the noun and verb (including all inflections - e.g. inquired, enquiring, inquiries, etc.)

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And here are the words-per-million frequency scores for each form of the verb, taken from written texts (not transcriptions) in the BNC, grouped by publication date:

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And of the noun:

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So on the basis of this, the majority would probably say that 'the Inquiry enquires', and that seems increasingly true, but it's by no means hard and fast.

Not that the Inquiry will be losing much sleep over that, I'm sure.

# Alex Steer (27/11/2009)