The term “inquiry” refers to the act of seeking information from any possible source. These days, inquiries are often done online or via calls.
The way we choose the tonality of our messages is also dependent on the overall context entailed by the inquiry.
Most of the time, though, we have to use a polite or formal tone in corresponding with the personnel in charge because it means that we are the ones asking for a favor.
In today’s article, you’ll be able to understand more about the expression “I am writing to inquire (about)…” as well as the subtleties behind it.
What does “I am writing to inquire (about)…” mean?
This is a default inquiry expression used mostly in business correspondence. It is used as an introductory phrase to inform the recipient of why a sender attempts to communicate. This expression is to be followed by a prepositional object, just like “the job advertisement posted in X.”
Contextualizing “I am writing to inquire (about)…”
Starting or ending an e-mail message professionally can be a hard nut to crack.
It has its own can of worms because we may have to deliberately adjust our statements according to the context in which it operates.
“I am writing to inquire (about)…” is a default introductory statement used in formal inquiries. It is followed by an exploratory purpose that completes the thought of the message.
For instance, we can inquire about whether an advertised job role is still open for more applications, or we can also ask about the details of a product or service, which, in return, a recipient can thank for.
This expression is formal because it demonstrates complete language use, as in the uncontracted structure of the subject pronoun and linking verb “I am.”
Should a sender want to tone down the formality level of the expression, he or she may start with contracting the subject and the verb, forming the term “I’m” instead.
As it is used in inquiries, we can deduce that it is functional in such a way that it enables its users to gain information from a possible source.
Let’s try to understand its nooks and crannies a little bit more by examining the context in which it can be applied.
These statements usually come after we have expressed our greeting to the addressee, such as those ones along the lines of “I hope this e-mail finds you well.”
When is the expression “I am writing to inquire about” used?
We use “I am writing to inquire (about)…” when we want to seek information in a declarative rather than in an interrogative manner.
Asking in question form is relatively more direct than expressing this intent using a declarative statement.
Hence, the use of such verbiage is more polite in the message creator’s perspective, as formal language entails the act of indirectness so as not to sound imposing.
For example, we can use this expression when we aim to inquire about a product or service, but not limited to, from any organization that offers such.
What is the purpose of using it?
“I am writing to inquire (about)…” is used when we want to express our interest in gaining a certain piece of information.
This means that before deciding to use the mentioned verbiage, a particular goal in the mind of the inquirer must exist beforehand.
Using this introductory statement enables the user to acquire information that would help him or her gain access to a larger chunk of data that would then provide more benefit for the user.
Who can use the expression?
“I am writing to inquire (about)…” can be used by anyone reaching out to a person by seeking information, but it is more predominantly used by those who are tasked to do so.
For example, these people may include job seekers, executive assistants, secretaries, virtual assistants, and students.
As these types of job positions normally entail information research work, then they are likely to use the expression “I am writing to inquire (about)…”
But of course, anyone can conveniently use this expression whenever the circumstances dictate to do so.
To whom can we address the expression?
The expression is addressed to any person whom the inquirer thinks can be a direct or relevant source of information.
To concretize the idea, the addressee can be a sales agent, customer service representative, receptionist, administrative staff, or a member of an educational institution’s faculty.
Again, the people mentioned above are some of the most common addressees only. But generally speaking, anyone can still be a recipient of the expression, especially those who partake in formalistic inquiries.
Six alternative expressions to “I am writing to inquire (about)…”
Since we may tend to get bored using the above-explained expression over and over, it is practical to know other ways of structuring it.
Listed below are six alternative inquiry introductory statements that are similar to “I am writing to inquire (about)…”
I am writing to ask whether (subordinate clause)…
We can use this intro when we are aiming for a yes-or-no response from the message receiver, followed by a subordinate clause containing the exploratory purpose.
As much as possible, we also need to include all necessary information when we make formal inquiries.
Doing so benefits both the sender and the recipient because it smoothens the correspondence. In other words, it makes the conversation simply more efficient.
I would like to know whether (subordinate clause)…
Another formal structure that we can use is “I would like to know whether…” followed by a subordinate clause that contains the exploratory purpose.
Instead of using “writing to inquire,” this verbiage is more efficient because logic could already inform the reader that the “written text” is intended for a particular purpose.
Again, as much as possible, this exploratory statement should hold most, if not all, essential information so the reader can immediately understand the content of the entire message.
I would like to know (direct object)
The third way to structure an introductory inquiry message is by directly using “I would like to know” followed by a direct object.
This can be used when we want to gain specific details instead of a yes-or-no response from the recipient.
Using this expression also suggests that we only know limited information regarding the inquiry, as opposed to the earlier statements that entail a yes-or-no response.
Please look at the next example. It could be a response to a job posting that might be removed before a job interview.
I am interested to know more about (prepositional object)…
Another formal and polite alternative is something that directly expresses the writer’s “interest” in knowing a piece of information.
We can say “I would like to inquire about…” followed by a prepositional object rather than a subordinate clause.
And, that is because, unlike the conjunction “whether,” “about” is actually classified as a preposition.
I would like to inquire about (prepositional object)…
The fifth alternative expression makes use of the term “inquire” again, meanwhile preceded by the phrase “would like to.”
Similarly, an object of the preposition “about” is to be used for the exploratory purpose part, rather than a subordinate clause.
I am writing to express my interest in (prepositional object)…
Lastly, we can also make an inquiry by implying a pleasant yet still polite tone. We can do so by using the verbiage “I am writing to express my interest in…” followed by a prepositional object.
Especially in job applications and client prospecting-related inquiries, in which the sender does not have the upper hand, it is more practical to use pleasant language during correspondence.
The example below is something that you would likely see as a response to a job posting via e-mail.
More particularly, this is something you would tend to do when you want to reply to a job posting on Craigslist.
As you can see, although the statement above is brief, any reader would automatically know the intent of the inquiry message because it contains both the informational source and the position being applied for.
Frequently Asked Questions on Alternatives for “I am writing to inquire (about)…”
What is the difference between “inquiry” and “enquiry”?
The main difference is that “inquiry” is predominantly used by users and followers of American English. Meanwhile, “enquiry” is mainly used by users and followers of British English.
Should we say “I am writing to inquire ‘if’ or ‘whether’…”?
If the goal is to portray a more formalistic language use rather than a direct one, we have to use “whether” instead of “if.”
How can we use “inquire” in a sentence?
We can use “inquire” as a verb in an exploratory correspondence, such as in “I would like to inquire about the video creating service stated on your company page.”
Whether we like it or not, formal writing still demands the use of lengthy sentences and polite linguistic cues, at least to date.
Most especially in the absence of a correspondent’s voice and facial expressions, the best way to prevent misinterpretation and misperception is through formalistic language strategies.
So, I hope you won’t ever get fed up with applying this approach whenever possible.
See you again on our next post!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.