Word Choice – Enquire Versus Inquire, Preventative Versus Preventive, Despite Versus In Spite of

We have received a number of questions regarding word choice. Some of them are quite easy to explain. Therefore, we have decided to cover three of them in this BizWritingTip.

Enquire Versus Inquire

These are alternative spellings of the same word. “Enquire” is perhaps slightly more common in the U.K., but either is acceptable in North America.

Preventative Versus Preventive

Both words date back to the 17th century and have the same meaning: serving to prevent. Some people like to use “preventive” as an adjective and “preventative” as a noun.

This is a preventive measure. (“Preventive” is used as an adjective.)
His solution is a good preventative. (“Preventative” is used as a noun.)

However, it does not really matter. They are interchangeable.

Despite Versus In Spite Of

“Despite”means “even though,” “notwithstanding,” or “regardless of.” So does “in spite of.”

We won the contract despite our higher pricing.
We won the contract in spite of our higher pricing.

“Despite might be considered a tiny bit more formal, but the two words are synonyms. Just be careful never to use “despite of” or “in despite of.” These are incorrect.

Thank you for your questions, Fahrah, Deane, and Patty. Trust this information helps.