REGARDLESS of the fact that irregardless has wormed its way into many modern dictionary, I cannot, for the life of me, stop myself from inwardly cringing when I hear this word used in a sentence. I mean, the right word is two letters less and is even one syllable short, hence it is more efficient to say it right, right? So why settle for the longer, less appropriate version?
IF you have been using the word quite regularly, and you simply disagree with my view on this very trivial matter, I wish not to offend. I would urge you to read on.
I was tired and had not much to do so when my relaxed state of mind was suddenly disturbed by the utterance of that blasted word, I immediately got my fingers working and consulted the most efficient tool to be ever invented…GOOGLE.
I sometimes get so riled up when people mispronounce a very common word, make a grave spelling error or use a “non-word” such as…irregardless. But having known some very smart people who make the same mistake, I think the assumption that people who use such words are “ignorant” is in itself ignorant and unfair. Instead of feeling vindicated that a lot of people are also bothered by this “bastardization” of the English language, I felt rather ashamed.
I was quite intrigued by how grammargirl would explain this odd language phenomenon and has even been enlightened by what she had to say. But what really struck me most was not found on the article but on one of the comments provided by another reader. Here is what he had to say.
“Do not listen to English teachers or those with an excessive belief in the propriety of certain aspects of language. Irregardless is now a word and a proper one at that. It communicates a concept which is commonly understood and no one either hearing or using the word is confused by the apparent double negative. As a professional writer and editor, I have personally allowed its usage in both reporting and book copy. Language is wholly contextual and hardly definite. Anyone who argues otherwise suffers from ignorance greater than those who lack the understanding to use words well. Such a one, having witnessed the possibilities and beauty which can be wrought through language, chooses instead to willfully limit those possibilities and to disregard that beauty.Irregardless is not the finest of words, but it serves its function. Those who insist on demeaning its usage act on the misguided belief that by choosing a certain linguistic path they can separate themselves from perceived ignorance. In reality, mode of speech does not necessarily denote wisdom and an insistence on propriety often indicates a fundamental lack of comfort both with language and with self.”~Ben
6/20/2012 1:22:42 AM
His particular piece was echoed already by other people and users but I found the words he used to make his point very compelling. It has somehow made me feel very guilty and humbled. It does not mean that I will start using irregardless in my everyday vocabulary but it did provide me with new perspective regarding language.
I can think of a lot of words that I wish to ban at some point or another for its meaning or the way it is used. But English is not a flawless language, just like most people who speak it, including me. Words can come and go, some are here to stay but I do not think anyone has a right to ban one, most certainly not me.
In my goal of improving the standards of my own vocabulary, I forgot one very important characteristic of language. It is alive. Language is dynamic…most importantly, it’s not perfect.
Note: WP proofreading is giving irregardless a thumbs down.