One-Line Wednesday – Are You In or Are You En?

“Enquiring minds need to know™”

I had to look that up because I’m never sure if its “enquiring” or “inquiring” – Well, it turns out it’s Enquiring (but it probably should be inquiring) and it turns out its Trademarked. Pbbbbfffftt to you National Enquirer, and the trademark you rode in on. Your trademark has become a generally accepted, albeit grammatically incorrect, phrase like Kleenex, Aspirin and Xerox, not to mention Tupperware, Band-aid, Scotch tape, Styrofoam and Sharpie – Although, I’m holding Sharpie by its fingertips as it’s about to fall over the precipice. To me, Sharpie means “A Sharpie marker” and nothing else will do. I’m sure there was a time when people only reached for a Kleenex.

Anyway, I was looking because more than a few grammar nerds follow this blog, not to mention my lovely editor, and they all would be happy to point out an error. Thank goodness I skipped Linda’s Rain-Rein-Reign SoCS prompt last week, because I would have messed that up.

The editor would have caught any mistakes, but Linda doesn’t allow editing. Well, she let’s us correct grammatical errors, but nothing big. I’ve made big. When the editor caught those, I opted to add the first comment, absolving from responsibility – like now – she did not review this post.

It wouldn’t matter, my other word-nerd buddies, including the one who’s five hours ahead of me in England, a.k.a. Long-Haired David, would point that out as well “you know, if your wife isn’t available to edit these posts, you can always run them past me.”

Why was I inquiring about this? I was trying to comment on Janet’s lovely post. I wanted to know the name of the flowers in the last picture. If you’re a flower guru, check them out. Comment here or there, but be sure to let me know.

The verdict is: if you want to correctly quote the National Enquirer, from whom the saying flows, it’s “enquiring” just like I said – if you’d like to be grammatically correct, ask my wife, or David.

One further bit of research would indicate that it’s “inquiring”. Research, you ask? OK, Marian says so. How’s that?


This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. You can follow this link to see the one-liners from the other participants.

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
This entry was posted in Friends, Humor, One Line Wed and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to One-Line Wednesday – Are You In or Are You En?

  1. Grammar nerds? I like it. :-) I did have to take a moment and look up enquire because I must admit I use inquire like they were interchangeable. Your list of words made me smile because I think a lot of us use these words all the time without actually checking the brand. Maybe that is why I don’t use enquire because I’m concerned that trash paper will send someone knocking on my door. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I once worked as a trader for a Scandinavian Bank. We had Electrolux in to lunch. They told us that we could have access to their staff purchase scheme. “Can I get a hoover?” asks my colleague. “No, we don’t make them” was the reply. This went back and forth for a few minutes with my colleague insisting that they did. Eventually, the man from Electrolux said (with a big grin) : ” We do make vacuum cleaners. if that is any good – but not Hoovers!” – Note my use of capital letters there – smile. From your sub-editor – Long Haired David in the UK.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dweezer19 says:

    i know…..when I ask for a sticky note, I am corrected that it’s a Post It, even if it came from the dollar store. Once upon a lifetime, about ten years ago, our clinic director in another universe, insisted we NOT refer to facial wipes as Kleenex because, in fact, we did not actually purchase Kleenex, but they were indeed tissues. If I say tissue now I get laughed at. And how about the idea that anything fizzie is a “coke”? INQUIRE. Plain and simple. And don’t even get my husband started on “Duck” tape. 😱

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Hahaha – yes, your HVAC system has no ducks! Inquire, got it, Cheryl. I was going to include “Coke” but it’s not as prevalent here in the northeast as in other parts of the country. Here, they say “soda” which, if you drive to New York means something else. I grew up saying “pop”. But kleenex instead of tissue. Actually, when I hear tissue, I think of tissue paper. It’s a good thing we all speak the same language :-)

      Liked by 1 person

      • dweezer19 says:

        Right? 😀My. Boys lived part tome in NE and my youngest would come home saying pop instead of soft drink which is what the”proper” verbiage is in my point of view although my folks always said coke just because that was the only real choice back then. In Texas there was a lot of soda reference. Now you know why I drink whiskey! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Liu Min says:

    This is very interesting! I think I typed at least a dozen of this word ‘inquiring’ in my response to people’s questions today without knowing it actually should be ‘enquiring’. Haha since English is not my native tongue, I think I’m excused for making this grammatical error. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      No, no, you might be correct. “Enquiring” is part of the brand. I guess I didn’t do a very good job with this post. I get them confused. In any case, here’s the official (i.e. Google) explanation:

      The traditional distinction between the verbs enquire and inquire is that enquire is to be used for general senses of ‘ask’, while inquire is reserved for uses meaning ‘make a formal investigation’.

      So, the National Enquirer is actually in the business of inquiring.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Liu Min says:

        Haha…according to the google explanation, ‘enquiring’ seems to fit better in my case..This is a good post, a good discussion on these words! Great to learn something new everyday! :)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. quiall says:

    hahaha Enjoyed that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Norm 2.0 says:

    I go with the flow; folks in North America usually use inquire, and everywhere else enquire is more common.
    Another commonly confused in/en is insure vs ensure. On that one however I refuse to use insure unless we’re talking about buying or selling insurance 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Going with the flow caused you to end up in my spam bucket, Norm. I’m just seeing this today. Sorry about the late response. I’d enquire with the folks at WordPress, but they aren’t playing nice with me. Lately, they seem to think you’re in a different time zone. I can’t plug my Thursday Doors post until 6:30 am. Today, I couldn’t even get WP to publish it. It took four tries.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bikerchick57 says:

    I used to love Sharpies/sharpies/markers, but then part of my job involved redacting and I became sad and tearful over them. Thank goodness for Nuance (or is it nuance?), because now I can wipe away those tears with a Kleenex/kleenex/tissue and do that stupid redacting on an IBM/Lenovo/Apple/whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. orbthefirst says:

    The phrase, “Google it!” also comes to mind as a familiar yet unassuming brand name invasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. loisajay says:

    Enquiring minds want to know—we use that phrase a lot at work. I think part of it is to take the edge off, “Just tell me, dammit!” Feel free to use your Sharpie to redact the cuss word. :D

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wendy Brydge says:

    I may or may not have drooled a bit when I saw the cupboard filled with sharpies/pens …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Almost Iowa says:

    To inquire is to ask or investigate. To enquire is to sensationalize the improbable. Journalism used to be about the former, not it is all about the later.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Val says:

    I think of ‘inquire’ as American English and ‘enquire’ as British Engish, but I have no idea why! I use the one with the ‘e’ unless… I’m speaking it aloud then I use either! ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I write it with In. But, you got me thinking so, I grabbed my Painless Grammar book and neither Inquire or Enquire are listed in it.
    Spell-check doesn’t like Enquire.
    Next I grabbed my very old Webster’s 2nd College Edition Dictionary and it says Enquire is the same as Inquire.
    I probably need to update my dictionary one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I’m going along with you on this. I could make you go back to a previous comment, but I’ll just post it again. According to google:

      The traditional distinction between the verbs enquire and inquire is that enquire is to be used for general senses of ‘ask’, while inquire is reserved for uses meaning ‘make a formal investigation’.

      Of course, it might have helped if I had looked that up before I wrote this.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve run into the inquire/enquire question as well when writing, and looked them up. There’s an interesting write-up in the Oxford dictionary: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/enquire-or-inquire. (Also, as I write this, “enquire” is flagged as a spelling error.)

    As for brand names that become the actual terms for the item — Band-Aid, Kleenex, Sharpie, Tylenol, etc. — that concept always intrigued me. What’s even more interesting is when some people, often kids, no longer know the generic word. I’ve had kids “correct me” with the name of the brand, haha. Decades ago (as kids), even if we knew the generic term, it was simply uncool to use. Old teacher words. We flinched when we heard “bandage” (more common now), “tissue” (what the heck’s a tissue — wrapping paper?), or “catsup” (ouch). Eventually, of course, our horizons broadened: we learned that there could be more than one name for an item, what brands were (also came with a discussion about capitalization), and that different English-speaking areas of the country, continent, or world used different terms.

    It’s also interesting how early, successful brand names led to the securing of their term for the generic item. Above, you say, “I’m sure there was a time when people only reached for a Kleenex.” Very true. Now they reach for a store brand or a different brand of tissue, but they reach for a “kleenex” (lower case in their minds).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I’m glad you liked this, and I appreciate the discussion in you comment. It’s fascinating to watch how brands go through this process. I’ve noticed people starting to use FedEx as a verb but really any overnight service will do. One exception, I grew up in Pittsburgh, so there’s only Hienz Ketchup. Totally agree on “tissue” being wrapping paper

      Liked by 1 person

  15. steelcityman says:

    Well INQUIRED Dan… I’m deffo IN…. I so enjoy your Blogs

    Liked by 1 person

  16. John Hric says:

    It just could be ink wiring mimes. always substitute mimes for minds. nobody seems to mind. and nobody says nuttin. especially the mimes. they do jump up and down in an animated sort of way. and there is probably another reason for that. now if you will excuse me i will join Tootles and look for my marbles…. maybe they are out in the garden. and it is hot out there so none of this ‘IF’ stuff. we are having one…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. joey says:

    Well done!
    I used sharpie just yesterday and when WordPress let me leave it lowercase, I Googled it and it turns out sharpie lowercase was nautical in nature, but I left it anyway.
    All my kleenex are Puffs. LOL Take that, Kleenex!!! :P

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I used to work for the German company Bayer AG the developer and the patent holder for Aspirin. The product for North America was sold to Sterling Drug as part of the WWI war reparations. Sterling failed to protect the name so Aspirin fell into common use. In the rest of the world, Aspirin is a trade name. Bayer bought Sterling and got their mark back in the early 1990’s. Fun post, Dan

    Liked by 2 people

  19. marianallen says:

    Thanks for the mention, Dan. Don’t forget Rollerblades = in-line skates.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I plead guilty to being a grammar nerd, although I try to be nice about it. BTW, thanks for mentioning my post. I, too, would love to know what that flower is. We call all tissues Kleenex, but have a friend who worked for Proctor and Gamble and only buys Puffs. :-) Thanks for including my favorite magazine to laugh at while in a grocery store line: National Enquirer and a true story about my “favorite” ex-VP. :)

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Janet. I’ve gotten a lot of grammar advice, but sadly, no info on those flowers. I do appreciate your including them. That comment inspired this post. We use Puffs, too, but I refer to them as kleenex. I didn’t realize Al was a shape-shifting reptilian alien.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. JT Twissel says:

    Even though I was an English major and a documentation manager, I try to avoid all debates on grammar. It’s not an exact science even though to some folks it’s the Holy Grail.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So excited to see your picture on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. LindaGHill says:

    Oh my goodness – I’m not the only one who keeps my Advil next to the salt and pepper! :D
    You know, after this I’m going to be checking to make sure I have “inquire” spelt right. And I get paid to edit! Sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. April Munday says:

    I love these kinds of debates :-). Here we don’t reach for a kleenex, but for a tissue, although mine are Kleenex. I’m a bit of a stationeryholic so I come across people referring to Sharpies all the time. I didn’t know it was becoming a generic term. I don’t use felt tips, so haven’t used one.

    I don’t think we tend to use brand names for classes of objects so much. We do use hoover and peop hoover when they clean their houses, but I prefer to put the vacuum round. We have photocopiers, plasters and plastic tubs instead of Xerox machines, Band-Aid and Tupperware (although mine are Tupperware).

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Dan Hen says:

    In my neck of the woods as a kid all soda pop was “coke”. My uncle in N. Dakota , where we went every summer , was a Pepsi distributor . Much to his frustration he never could quite break us of the habit —— the hoover/ Electrolux comment reminded me . Also , I was inaware ( or is it enaware ?) that Al Gore was actually a lizard . Thanks for the info.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Peter Nena says:

    I like the photo of Al Gore. Reminds of a certain hybrid demon in Constantine (2004). Thanks Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Ohh, so many comments, I won’t go through them all to see if anybody spotted “let’s” instead of “lets” in your post. But I’ll tell you that I would never thought of spelling it “enquiring” and that the newspaper cover you included is disturbing. How is anybody willing to pay for this? Also I’ll tell you that the Slovenian brand of tissues, “Paloma”, got so big in Macedonia that they started to use the word “paloma” as the normal word for paper tissues. Now you’re one of the 1% who know this.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Joanne Sisco says:

    All this grammar stuff is making my head hurt. I think this might actually be worse that the math posts.

    One I ALWAYS have to look up is lying vs laying. You would think that after so many years of constantly looking them up, I would know one from the other. Nope. I just avoid using either of them whenever possible.

    I’m pretty confident though that the National Enquirer is lying. There are many people I would call a slimy reptile but Al Gore wouldn’t be one of them ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Aunt Beulah says:

    Dan, i would like to inquire about your relationship with National Enquirer: Have you ever read a story in it? I’m proud to say I never have, but I do read the headlines to entertain myself while standing in lines at supermarkets.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. reocochran says:

    I loved this post which actually was accurate and as far as my middle school English teacher knowledge goes, perfect! Ha ha ha!
    I think kleenex and band-aids are totally right without a brand or application for permission needed!
    I like to use my “in”quiring mind to “in”vestigate so the “in” is the only route for me to take.
    I use the word “Tylenol” for any acetomine and any ibuprofen I use “Advil” while my Mom liked “Bufferin” for years. I think I misspelled a few of these words but I am in the midst of my Vacation so who cares? Not me! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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