Make Your Editor Cry: Irregardless vs. Regardless

Make Your Editor Cry: Irregardless vs. Regardless

My take? “Irregardless” is not a word that should ever be used in the narrative text. I do concede that it could be just fine to use this word as well as other slang in dialogue if you intend to depict the character speaking as ignorant, uneducated, crass, or possibly someone for whom English is a second language, for example. Otherwise, simply use the word “regardless” without the ir- prefix.

Incorrect:

But irregardless of your opinion, Gregg, Webster added this word to the dictionary.

Correct:

Regardless of what you think about grammar, you’ll look silly if you use words incorrectly. Also, regardless of what you may think, dictionaries are not the arbiters of good grammar, but rather of word usage in the vulgate.

Postscript: Webster has added the word irregardless to their lexicon but they specify that it is “nonstandard,” which means it is “not conforming in pronunciation, grammatical construction, idiom, or word choice to the usage generally characteristic of educated native speakers of a language.”

They also confess that “Many people find irregardless to be a nonsensical word, as the ir- prefix usually functions to indicate negation.”

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