I Am Not the Grammar Police

I’m normally really chill about grammar.  It’s a tough thing to learn, and my grammar’s not perfect (I like comma splices.  A lot.  And sentence fragments.), but there are still some things that really bug me.  But there is one that bothers me above all others.

Irregardless

….guys, this one is just ridiculous.  If something is “regardless,” it is without regard, i.e., it doesn’t matter.  Here’s how I remember it: regard-less.  Less than regard.

If something is “irregardless” it is without less than regard.  Ir is a prefix that means “without” or “not.”  “Irregardless” does not mean “regardless,” and they are not interchangeable.  Does that mean “irregardless” has regard?  Can “ir” before “regardless” be constituted as a double negative that somehow makes “irregardless” mean that you care a whole, whole lot?

“Irregardless” is redundant.  And it frustrates me.  Can we stop using it? Please?  It’s wrong, and it makes me want to become the grammar police, and that’s not my job.

Regardless (see what I did there), I might just have to learn to deal with it.

But if you use “irregardless,” and you’re just an acquaintance, I won’t correct you.  I will silently judge you from my place atop my grammar high-horse.

Or, if you use it enough, I might throw an angry cat at your face.

Just kidding.  Maybe.

UPDATE:  I figured it out.

Why you guys like “irregardless” so much.  It’s because of “irrelevant.”  It’s got to be.   “Irrelevant” is a correct “ir” prefix attached to the root word “relevant.”  “Relevant” means “to be important, to matter.”   “Irrelevant” means “to be unimportant.”

The two words “relevant” and “regardless” sound sort of similar, I guess?  And since the “ir” rule works with one, I figure that language intuition (which is a thing that happens with native speakers–you get to a place where you can basically just feel your way around grammar and be mostly correct) says that you can use “ir” with regardless, too.

The problem with that is that you already have a suffix (“less”) with “regardless” that negates the root word “regard.”  So the “ir” is unnecessary.  But that apparently doesn’t always register.

“Irregardless” is still wrong, and I will probably still have to throw angry cats, but….at least I know why it’s so blatantly used?

Advertisements

7 responses to “I Am Not the Grammar Police

  1. definitely know what you mean! that is such a good point.
    don’t feel that you are the grammar police, i mean you are doing a good job where it is required! teach others how to appropriately use regardless.
    x

    • I will try not to feel like the grammar police. But I don’t particularly like going “HEY, you’re wrong!” It makes me feel like a jerk, even if it’s for the good of language. Thanks, though!

  2. I like this post alot.

  3. Pingback: Beyond the grammar basics « Polyglot Posturings

  4. Here,here! but I know how you feel about correcting people. My grammar’s not perfect either, but some things do drive me nuts and this is one of them. Now can we get people to stop writing “everyday” when they mean “every day”….

  5. Pingback: You can’t get away from grammar « ConversationalWordsmith

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s