I am investigating how clear surveys on a website are, and was wondering if the phrase

“I merely inquired how your site works”

sounds natural among young Americans?

  • 1
    "Merely inquired," is used in defensive statements where you may have been accused of doing something inappropriate. "I merely inquired about this... You don't have to be so angry!" It's not used outside that connotation normally. – DoWhileNot Oct 11 '17 at 14:22
  • It doesn't sound like a survey introduction since it refers to a past event. What is the context of this statement? If your subject is surveys, why is the statement about a previous inquiry about a website? What is the idea you are trying to convey? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 11 '17 at 16:33

Depending on what you mean by "natural", yes it is (I have heard it said before, and it's completely grammatically correct). As a US English speaker, I wouldn't generally say this, because to me it seems too formal of a phrase. Instead, I would use this:

I only asked how your site works.

Even then, if I used "merely inquired" (and only in formal circumstances), I would add "as to" after "inquired".

I merely inquired as to how your site works.

I also agree with commentator DoWhileNot; I too would use "merely" in a defensive tone.

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