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Grammar Repair Shop: With regards to, irregardless

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Reader Kelly Merritt sent us the following note recently:

"Most people write 'I am writing with regards to,' or 'in regards to,' and I have even been corrected when using 'in regard to' ... when everything I have read says that 'regard' and not 'regards' is the proper term. Which is the proper word?"Please also share with readers that 'irregardless' is not a word."

You say "regard," they say "regards."
Who's correct regarding this commonly botched phrase?

The word "regard" offers several variations: "regarding," "in regard to," "with regard to" and "as regards." All of those expressions are correct. The plural phrase "in regards to," however, is considered substandard English.

Of course, you have other options: "in respect to," "with respect to," "concerning" and "about."

"Irregardless" is a word that many people mistakenly believe to be proper English, when in fact it's used chiefly in casual writing. The word was coined in the United States in the early 20th century, probably from a blend of "irrespective" and "regardless."

Since people use "irregardless," it is a word. But, like "in regards to," it's considered substandard English.
Peeved by a common error? Puzzled by perplexing grammar rules? E-mail us at with the subject "Grammar." Or call us at (703)905-4850.

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