Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yes, “Irregardless” is a Word. Of Course, Using it is Not a Good Idea Because...

The featured word in yesterday’s edition of Merriam Webster’s “Word of the day”—the most worthwhile of the various word-of-the-day emails that fly around in cyberspace—was “regardless.” I was immediately reminded of how indignantly some in my seminar audiences have reacted when, as a teaser or in a moment of frivolity, I have uttered the word “irregardless.” “V.J., there is no such word,” they say vehemently.

Well, of course “irregardless” is a word--after all, it is featured in all dictionaries. But, yes, it is considered “non-standard” and its usage not recommended. It’s best to reproduce the relevant comment from that “Word of the Day” email from Merriam Webster’s: "Irregardless" originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century, and usage commentators have been decrying it since the 1920s, often declaring "there is no such word." "Irregardless" does exist, of course, but it tends to be used primarily in speech and it is still considered nonstandard. "Regardless" is greatly preferred.

Summing up: Yes, “irregardless” is a word but using it is not at all a good idea because first, it is non-standard, and second, its use will provoke angry glares from many in your audience--not in your interest if you want to be endearing.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

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