Difference Wiki

Inquiry vs. Query: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 15, 2023
An inquiry is a detailed investigation or systematic examination, while a query is a specific question or request for information.

Key Differences

Inquiry refers to a formal or systematic investigation, often implying a process of exploring or examining in detail. Query, in contrast, typically signifies a specific question or a request for information, generally concise and direct.
The term inquiry is often used in contexts where thorough research or investigation is required. On the other hand, a query is more commonly used in contexts like databases or casual information-seeking where specific questions are posed.
Inquiries may involve multiple questions or aspects and can lead to comprehensive studies. Queries are usually limited to singular or straightforward questions, seeking immediate and direct responses.
An inquiry can be a formal process, as seen in legal or academic settings, requiring systematic investigation. A query, however, often arises in everyday situations and may require only a simple answer or clarification.
The scope of an inquiry is generally broader and more in-depth compared to a query, which is narrower and focused on specific information or clarification.

Comparison Chart


Formal investigation or examination
Specific question or request for information


Research, legal, academic
Database, casual information-seeking


Broad and in-depth
Narrow and specific


Often involves multiple questions/aspects
Usually singular, straightforward question

Typical Use

Systematic studies, formal investigations
Immediate answers, information retrieval

Inquiry and Query Definitions


A formal request for information.
Her inquiry into university courses revealed several interesting options.


An expression of doubt or question about something.
His query about the project's feasibility raised important points.


Systematic questioning or investigation.
The scientific inquiry led to significant discoveries.


A question, often asking for information or facts.
She posed a query about the meeting's schedule.


Seeking facts, information, or knowledge.
The journalist's inquiry uncovered new facts about the event.


A request for specific information from a database.
The database administrator wrote a query to extract the required data.


A detailed investigation or examination.
The committee conducted an inquiry into the company's financial dealings.


A quick question seeking clarification.
I have a quick query regarding your instructions.


An act of asking for information.
He made an inquiry about the status of his application.


Asking for resolution or response to a specific issue.
The customer's query was about the product's warranty.


The act of inquiring
Engaged in scientific inquiry.


A question; an inquiry.


A question; a query
There were many inquiries about the new tax rates.


A doubt in the mind; a mental reservation.


A close examination of a matter
A Congressional inquiry into the scandal.


The act of inquiring; a seeking of information by asking questions; interrogation; a question or questioning.


Search for truth, information, or knowledge; examination of facts or principles; research; investigation
Scientific inquiry


The act of inquiring; a seeking for information by asking questions; interrogation; a question or questioning.
He could no path nor track of foot descry,Nor by inquiry learn, nor guess by aim.
The men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate.


Search for truth, information, or knowledge; examination into facts or principles; research; investigation; as, physical inquiries.
All that is wanting to the perfection of this art will undoubtedly be found, if able men . . . will make inquiry into it.


A search for knowledge;
Their pottery deserves more research than it has received


An instance of questioning;
There was a question about my training
We made inquiries of all those who were present


A systematic investigation of a matter of public interest


What is an inquiry?

An inquiry is a request for information or an investigation into a particular issue or topic.

How are inquiry and query different?

An inquiry generally implies a deeper or more formal investigation, while a query is often a specific question.

Is an inquiry more formal than a query?

Typically, yes. Inquiries are often more formal and involve detailed investigation.

What is an example of an inquiry?

An inquiry could be a formal investigation into a public matter or a request for detailed information.

What is an example of a query?

A query might be a question posed to a search engine or a request for clarification.

Can inquiry and query be used interchangeably?

In casual use, they can be, but they have different connotations in formal contexts.

Is an inquiry always related to investigation?

Often, but not always. It can also refer to a request for information or clarification.

Is a query used in academic research?

Yes, queries are common in academic research, often as specific questions seeking targeted information.

What is a query?

A query is a question or request for information, often specific and focused.

Can 'query' be used in databases?

Yes, in computing, a query refers to a request for data or information from a database.

Can a query be verbal as well as written?

Absolutely, queries can be posed both verbally and in writing.

Does an inquiry require more research?

Generally, yes. Inquiries typically necessitate more extensive research or investigation.

How is an inquiry used in customer service?

In customer service, an inquiry often involves a customer seeking detailed information or resolution of issues.

Are queries common in programming?

Yes, queries are integral to programming, especially in database management and search algorithms.

Does a query imply a shorter response than an inquiry?

Usually, a query expects a more concise response, while an inquiry might require detailed information.

Do journalists conduct inquiries or queries?

They can conduct both: inquiries for in-depth investigations and queries for specific questions.

Is an inquiry more likely to be formal or informal?

Inquiries are more often formal, especially when involving official or structured investigations.

Are queries typically answered faster than inquiries?

Generally, yes. Due to their more specific and focused nature, queries often receive quicker responses.

Can an inquiry lead to a formal process?

Yes, especially in legal or official contexts, an inquiry can lead to a formal investigative process.

Can a series of queries constitute an inquiry?

In some contexts, yes. A series of specific queries can collectively form a broader inquiry.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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