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Irregardless vs. Regardless: Correct Spelling

  • 2024-01-13 00:00:00
  • 11 min read

The English language is full of nuances and subtleties that often spark lively debates among linguists and grammar enthusiasts. One such debate centers around the use of irregardless or regardless. While some argue vehemently against the former, others accept its usage in certain contexts.

Description and Usage of Irregardless vs. Regardless

The regardless is an adverb meaning without regard or despite everything. It is widely accepted in both formal and informal language, frequently used to emphasize the disregard of certain factors or conditions.

On the other hand, irregardless is often contested. It is a nonstandard term that combines the prefix 'ir-', which typically means 'not,' with the suffix '-less', and the root word regard. This seemingly double negative has led many language purists and grammarians to question its validity and consider it unnecessary, as regardless alone, it already conveys the intended meaning. Despite its frequent use in colloquial speech and informal writing, it is generally avoided in more formal contexts.

It's essential to note that some dictionaries have included irregardless due to their persistent use, but it is often recommended to use regardless to maintain grammatical precision and adhere to standard language conventions. While irregardless might be understood in casual conversation, the use of the second is a safer choice in formal writing and communication.

When They Say Irregardless

Those who use irregardless might be doing so out of habit or dialectal influence. It is found in dictionaries, but with a caveat — it's typically labeled as nonstandard or informal. This suggests that while it may be understood, its use is not encouraged, especially in formal writing or speech.

For example:

  • Irregardless of the weather, the event will proceed as scheduled.
  • We will move forward with our plans irregardless of any obstacles that may arise.
  • Irregardless of your opinion, the decision has already been made.
  • The policy applies universally, irregardless of individual circumstances.
  • Irregardless of the challenges faced, the team remained determined to achieve their goals.

When They Say Regardless

Regardless is the universally accepted term. It's used in all types of discourse without raising eyebrows. Its meaning is clear, and it doesn't suffer from the same stigma irregardless.

For instance:

  • Regardless of the weather, we'll proceed with the outdoor event as planned.
  • I will support you, regardless of the challenges that may arise.
  • Regardless of your opinion, the decision has already been made by the committee.
  • She continued her studies diligently, regardless of the distractions around her.
  • Regardless of the outcome, the experience itself is valuable and worth the effort.

What is the Correct Spelling?

The correct spelling for the widely accepted adverb is regardless. The contested variant, irregardless, while recognized, carries a nonstandard tag in most dictionaries. It is considered by many language purists as unnecessary, as regardless already conveys the intended meaning without the added prefix. 

Therefore, when in doubt, stick with regardless to ensure your language is beyond reproach. When distinguishing between Irregardless vs. Regardless, opting for the latter remains the preferred choice for linguistic precision.

Conclusion 

While irregardless may have its defenders and a place in colloquial speech, regardless remains the safer and more grammatically sound choice. Whether drafting a formal document, participating in academic discourse, or engaging in casual conversation, opting for regardless will convey your message clearly and correctly. Remember, language evolves, but clarity remains king and adherence to standard usage enhances the effectiveness of your communication.

If you're looking for clarity in language use, trustworthy dictionaries can be valuable tools. Webster's New World College Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, and the Cambridge Dictionary offer detailed insights into the proper usage, meaning, and origins of different phrases and expressions. Consulting these references can help improve language precision and promote effective communication.