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Request vs. Enquiry — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on September 12, 2023
A "request" is an act of asking for something to be given or done. An "enquiry" is an act of asking for information.
Request vs. Enquiry — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Request and Enquiry


Key Differences

A "request" primarily pertains to the act of politely or formally asking for something specific, often leading to a particular action or response from the recipient. In contrast, an "enquiry" is more about seeking clarification or information about a certain topic, without necessarily asking for a direct action or item.
In terms of interaction, when someone makes a "request", they are essentially expressing a desire or need that they hope will be met by another party. This could be tangible, like asking for a glass of water, or intangible, like requesting assistance or a favor. On the flip side, an "enquiry" is not about obtaining a tangible item or direct assistance but is centered around gaining understanding or knowledge.
From a linguistic standpoint, the word "request" can be both a noun and a verb. For example, one can make a request (noun) or one can request something (verb). "Enquiry", however, is predominantly used as a noun. When used as a verb, the term "enquire" is employed.
In professional settings, both "requests" and "enquiries" hold significant value but serve different purposes. A "request" in a business context might relate to asking for specific resources or permissions, while an "enquiry" might revolve around seeking information about a product, service, or process.

Comparison Chart


Act of asking for something.
Act of asking for information.

Expected Outcome

A specific action or item.
Knowledge or understanding.

Linguistic Usage

Can be a noun and a verb.
Primarily a noun.

Context of Interaction

Expressing a desire or need.
Seeking clarification or understanding.

Typical Use

In daily interactions and professional settings.
Often in professional or formal situations.

Compare with Definitions


Request is a polite or formal act of asking for something.
The manager made a request for additional staff.


Enquiry is the act of asking for information or clarification.
The detective's enquiry led him to the main suspect.


Request signifies a desire or need to be met by another.
She sent a request to join the exclusive club.


Enquiry seeks to gain understanding or knowledge on a subject.
The student's enquiry was about the course's syllabus.


Request can lead to a particular action or response.
Upon his request, the document was promptly emailed to him.


Enquiry can be a probe or investigation into a specific topic.
The public enquiry into the incident lasted for months.


Request can pertain to tangible or intangible items or actions.
The artist's request for inspiration was met with a beautiful sunset.


Enquiry is often a formal act of questioning.
The board's enquiry into the matter revealed some discrepancies.


Request is an expression of wanting something specific.
The child's simple request was for a bedtime story.


Enquiry is centered around seeking answers.
Her enquiry about the product's warranty went unanswered.


An act of asking politely or formally for something
A request for information
The club's excursion was postponed at the request of some of the members


Variant of inquiry.


Politely or formally ask for
The chairman requested that the reports be considered
He received the information he had requested


A question.


To express a desire for, especially politely; ask for. Often used with an infinitive or clause
Requested information about the experiment.
Requested to see the evidence firsthand.
Requested that the bus driver stop at the next corner.


Search for truth, information or knowledge.
Scientific enquiry


To ask (a person) to do something
The police requested her to accompany them.


See Inquiry.


An act of asking for something.


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


Something asked for
Wasn't happy until he got his request.


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


To ask for (something).
The corporal requested reinforcements.
I have requested that the furniture be moved back to its original position.


A systematic investigation of a matter of public interest


(transitive) To ask (somebody) to do something.
She called me into her office and requested me to sit down.


Act of requesting (with the adposition at in the presence of possessives, and on in their absence).


A formal message requesting something.


Condition of being sought after.


(networking) A message sent over a network to a server.
The server returned a 404 error to the HTTP request.


(obsolete) That which is asked for or requested.


The act of asking for anything desired; expression of desire or demand; solicitation; prayer; petition; entreaty.
I will marry her, sir, at your request.


That which is asked for or requested.
I will both hear and grant you your requests.


A state of being desired or held in such estimation as to be sought after or asked for; demand.
Knowledge and fame were in as great request as wealth among us now.


To ask for (something); to express desire ffor; to solicit; as, to request his presence, or a favor.


To address with a request; to ask.
I request youTo give my poor host freedom.


A formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority


The verbal act of requesting


Express the need or desire for; ask for;
She requested an extra bed in her room
She called for room service


Ask (a person) to do something;
She asked him to be here at noon
I requested that she type the entire manuscript


Inquire for (information);
I requested information from the secretary

Common Curiosities

Is "enquiry" used as a verb?

No, "enquire" is the verb form, while "enquiry" is primarily a noun.

What is the main difference between a request and an enquiry?

A request asks for something specific, while an enquiry seeks information.

Can an enquiry lead to a request?

Yes, after making an enquiry and getting information, one might then make a specific request.

Can a request be declined?

Yes, a request, being an ask, can be accepted or declined.

What is the outcome of an enquiry?

The outcome of an enquiry is typically gaining knowledge or understanding on a topic.

Can "request" be used as both a verb and a noun?

Yes, one can make a request (noun) or request something (verb).

How do I know when to use request vs. enquiry?

Use "request" when asking for something specific and "enquiry" when seeking information.

Are requests always formal?

No, requests can be both formal and informal depending on the context.

In which contexts is "enquiry" most commonly used?

Enquiry is often used in professional, academic, or formal situations to seek information.

What is a common synonym for "request"?

A common synonym for "request" is "ask."

Are there formal ways to make a request?

Yes, in professional or formal settings, requests are often made in writing or with polite language.

Can "enquiry" relate to an investigation?

Yes, enquiry can also refer to a formal investigation or probe into a matter.

Is "enquiry" the same as "inquiry"?

Both words have similar meanings, but "enquiry" is more common in British English, while "inquiry" is used in American English.

Can I use "enquiry" in day-to-day conversations?

Yes, while it's more formal, "enquiry" can be used in daily conversations when asking for information.

Can "enquiry" mean curiosity?

Yes, in a broader sense, "enquiry" can denote an act driven by curiosity.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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