Words confused

Is it distinct or distinctive?

The words distinct and distinctive have slightly different meanings. In most cases, they are not interchangeable.


Distinct means ‘clear’ or ‘unmistakable’.

  • This word is used to convey two distinct meanings.
  • I still have a distinct memory of that day.
  • There is a distinct possibility that she won’t win.
  • We are at a distinct disadvantage.


Distinctive means different from others. Distinctive features are those features that set a person or thing apart from others.

  • Filter coffee has a distinctive flavour.
  • A distinctive feature of the magazine is the real life stories they publish in every edition.

Is it enquiry or inquiry?

In British English, both inquiry and enquiry are used. In American English, inquiry is more common.

  • We have already received several inquiries about the program.
  • The public demanded an inquiry into the incident.

In British English, the word inquiry is mainly used when talking of investigations.


To enquire is to request more information.

  • We ought to make some enquiries about the program.
  • She enquired about my health.

Is it imply or infer?

These words have different meanings, but people sometimes interchange them.


To imply is to hint at or suggest.

  • His tone implied displeasure.
  • I don’t know what he implied by saying that.


To infer is to draw a conclusion from what has been said.

  • I could infer from his tone that he was not happy with the deal.