Irregardless vs. Regardless: Navigating Correct English Usage

In the realm of English usage, the debate between “irregardless” and “regardless” grips grammar enthusiasts and language purists alike.  In this discussion, we will dissect the origins, usage, and perceptions surrounding “irregardless” and “regardless,” providing clarity for anyone who treads the intricate path of English grammar.

The Main Difference between Irregardless and Regardless

Irregardless vs. Regardless: Navigating Correct English Usage Pin

Irregardless vs. Regardless: Key Takeaways

  • “Irregardless” and “regardless” have similar meanings, but “irregardless” is disputed.
  • “Regardless” is universally recognized and appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.
  • The form “irregardless” persists in conversational language despite its nonstandard status.

Irregardless vs. Regardless: the Definition

What Does Irregardless Mean? 

Irregardless is an adverb that has sparked debate over its acceptance and use. Despite the criticism, it has been used for over 200 years. Many argue that it’s nonstandard because it combines a double negative, with the prefix ir- (not) and the suffix -less (without), which both suggest negation. This might seem to make the term mean “without without regard”, but those who use it intend it to mean the same as “regardless”, which is “without regard to” or “despite”. Here’s how it might appear in a sentence:

  • Irregardless of the weather, we plan to host the barbecue.
  • She would pursue her dream, irregardless of the risks involved.

What Does Regardless Mean?

Regardless is the universally accepted adverb meaning “without regard” or “in spite of prevailing circumstances”. It is appropriate in both formal and informal contexts and is often recommended over “irregardless” by experts. Here are a couple of examples:

  • The event will continue regardless of rain or shine.
  • Regardless of the challenges, we remain committed to our goals.

Irregardless vs. Regardless Usage and Examples

When we encounter the words irregardless and regardless, it’s essential to understand their usage in proper English. Regardless is the correct term to use, meaning despite everything or without regard to the prevailing circumstances. It’s used as an adverb, seamlessly fitting into sentences to indicate that an action or state of affairs is unaffected by other events.

Examples of regardless:

  • We will proceed with our plans, regardless of the weather.
  • She remained cheerful regardless of her difficulties.

On the other hand, irregardless is a term that has sparked controversy. It attempts to convey the same meaning as regardless, but it includes the prefix ir- which is typically used in English to negate a word’s meaning (e.g., irrationalirrelevant). This makes irregardless nonstandard because it carries a double negative, although it’s intended to be used in the same sense as regardless.

Examples of irregardless (nonstandard usage):

  • Irregardless of the risks, he decided to go forward with the investment.
  • She plans to buy the expensive dress irregardless of the cost.

Here’s a straightforward breakdown to remember:

Correct Usage Nonstandard Usage
regardless irregardless

We should opt for regardless to ensure our language is clear and standard, especially in formal writing or professional communication. It’s the undisputed choice that conveys our meaning without the confusion of a seemingly double negative.

Tips to Remember the Difference

  • Prefix Redundancy: Remember that the prefix “ir-” in “irregardless” is redundant since “regardless” already conveys the meaning of negation or absence of regard.
  • Context Appropriateness: Use “regardless” in all settings for clarity. Reserve “irregardless” for casual or conversational environments, if at all, acknowledging its contentious nature.

Irregardless vs. Regardlesse: Examples

Example Sentences Using Irregardless 

  • Irregardless of the heavy rain, the event will continue as scheduled.
  • She plans to go ahead with her outdoor wedding irregardless of the weather forecast.
  • He will pursue his dream of becoming an artist, irregardless of the challenges he might face.
  • The team decided to play the match irregardless of having their star player injured.
  • Irregardless of the outcome, we will keep striving for the goals we’ve set.

Example Sentences Using Regardless 

  • Regardless of the heavy rain, the event will continue as scheduled.
  • She plans to go ahead with her outdoor wedding regardless of the weather forecast.
  • He will pursue his dream of becoming an artist, regardless of the challenges he might face.
  • The team decided to play the match regardless of having their star player injured.
  • Regardless of the outcome, we will keep striving for the goals we’ve set.

Related Confused Words with Irregardless vs. Regardless

Irregardless vs. Irrespective

  • Irregardless is a nonstandard synonym for “regardless,” often noted in informal speech. It’s a blend of “irrespective” and “regardless,” but the prefix “ir-” is redundant because “regardless” already means without regard.
  • Irrespective refers to not taking something into account and is always correct to use in formal English. It is synonymous with “regardless.”

Example sentence:

  • Irregardless of the weather, the soccer game will be played as scheduled. ( Incorrect)
  • Irrespective of her busy schedule, she always finds time for her family.

Regardless vs. Despite

  • Regardless is properly used to mean “without regard” or “without consideration” of the surrounding circumstances. It’s a fitting word both in formal and informal contexts.
  • Despite, on the other hand, is a preposition used to indicate that something happened or is true in spite of something else. It is not interchangeable with “regardless,” which is an adverb.

Example sentence:

  • He decided to pursue his dream of becoming an artist, regardless of the financial risks.
  • Despite the heavy rain, the picnic went ahead as planned.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference in meaning between ‘irregardless’ and ‘regardless’?

‘Irregardless’ and ‘regardless’ both function as adverbs, meaning ‘despite everything’ or ‘not being affected by something’. However, ‘irregardless’ is often considered nonstandard because it combines the negative prefix ‘ir-‘ with the suffix ‘-less’, which is also negative, thus making it redundant.

Can you provide examples of how to use ‘regardless’ and ‘irregardless’ in a sentence?

Certainly! For ‘regardless’: “Regardless of the weather, the picnic will proceed as planned.” Though ‘irregardless’ is usually discouraged, if used, it typically appears in informal speech: “Irregardless of the critics, he plans to proceed with his performance.”

What is the historical origin of the term ‘irregardless’?

The term ‘irregardless’ emerged in the early 20th century, possibly from a blend of ‘irrespective’ and ‘regardless’. It was likely used colloquially before being recorded in print.

How is ‘irregardless’ viewed in formal and informal English contexts?

In formal English contexts, ‘irregardless’ is considered incorrect and should be avoided. In informal conversations, it may be used, although it is often met with criticism from language purists.

What are some synonyms for ‘regardless’ that can be used in professional writing?

In professional writing, we can use synonyms like ‘despite’, ‘notwithstanding’, or ‘no matter what’ instead of ‘regardless’ to convey a similar meaning without the informality.

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Last Updated on January 9, 2024

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