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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Census site uses inquiry instead of enquiry.

As soon as I opened the Census site I noticed something that flagged a concern. It was the word inquiry.

What I've found in the past is if companies aren't diligent with their public presence in terms of spelling, it often provides a deeper hint about the company. In this case it is the Australian government.

When the Census failed in what so far has to be the largest public failure of the government's public online presence, I couldn't help wonder if that hint was a sign of things to come.

In Australia we use two different spelling variations for the very similar words inquiry and enquiry. The spelling inquiry is used in reference to the more formal legal situation such as a government inquiry. The spelling enquiry is used when we make an enquiry about something. In America there's only the single spelling inquiry.

I'd like to admit that spelling inquiry/enquiry has caught me out over the years. I have a science/IT background and without knowing it, the spelling inquiry became the way I spelt enquiry. It was only as a result of my interest in the preferred Australian English spelling dictionary that I became aware of the difference usage of inquiry and enquiry. I was more than happy to adjust my usage once I'd realised I was using the incorrect spelling. We continue to learn and hone our skills as we journey through life.

Kelvin Eldridge