Word Choice – Irregardless

A BizWritingTip reader has asked us to comment on the word irregardless.

Irregardless is a word that many communicators mistakenly believe is correct in formal writing or speaking. It came into being in the early 20th century, but it has to be one of the most contentious words in the English language. It has been criticized for being an improper joining of irrespective and regardless.

It also does not make any sense to combine the negative ir- prefix and the –less suffix. Although there are other words that have similar redundant affixes, such as inflammable, irregardless really does upset people.

It has been considered a mistake for many years and will probably continue to do so. Stick with regardless.

Note – Similar Sounding Words

In a previous issue, I asked people to send me homophones (words that have the same sound but a different meaning) that they have found amusing in written documents. Here are some of the submissions:

We should discuss the roll of the manager. (Is the manager into gymnastics? Role works better.)

It was an exercise in fertility. (I know we want our offices to be productive but surely not reproductive. When an activity is absolutely useless, it is an exercise in futility.)

Let’s send out a notice about the upcoming statuary holidays. (What do statues do on their holidays? Statutory holidays are public holidays established by the government.)

On a company created Christmas email: Marry Christmas!