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enquiry or inquiry: According to Fowler, inquiry should be used in relation to a formal inquest, and enquiry to the act of questioning. Many (though not all) British writers maintain this distinction; the OED, on the other hand, lists inquiry and enquiry as equal alternatives, in that order. Some British dictionaries, such as Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, present the two spellings as interchangeable variants in the general sense, but prefer inquiry for the "formal inquest" sense. In the US, only inquiry is commonly used; the title of The National Enquirer, as a proper name, is an exception. In Australia, inquiry and enquiry are often interchangeable, but inquiry prevails in writing. Both are current in Canada, where enquiry is often associated with scholarly or intellectual research.
the first time I heard "have you got a spanner?" I had to stop and think, what could THAT be?
Since all else are derivatives isn't British English the standard?
Historically, no. Two of the most striking distinctions between British and American English-- the treatment of postvocalic "r" * and the pronunciation shift of short "a"-- are British innovations that occured after the dialects split.