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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Grammar in Action – Regardless vs. Irregardless

Oftentimes both regardless and irregardless are used to mean "in spite or" or "anyway." However, while regardless does mean in spite or, irregardless is a double negative. The "ir" on irregardless means it actually would mean "not in spite of."

Despite irregardless being a double negative and, therefore, incorrect, many people often use it in everyday language. In fact, most dictionaries now list it as a "nonstandard" word because of its popularity and usage in everyday speech. This could be important when you have a verbatim file that wants you to capture all words, even incorrect ones, or on a file that wants you to clean up the speaker for errors such as this.

In practice, regardless should be used as such:

I went to the wedding, regardless of the fact I did not have a date.

If we insert irregardless into that sentence you get:

I went to the wedding, irregardless of the fact I did not have a date.


Many people use irregardless to mean the same thing, despite the double negative. Just something to keep in mind the next time you have a verbatim file or one where you're cleaning up grammar for a client.

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