When I saw the word irregardless written in The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, I was drawn to what it said beside it, which was “it should be regardless”. They explain that people have a desire to add in a prefix to make a word negative; however, by adding ‘ir-‘ to regardless, it leaves it with a double negative meaning. Words where it is safe to do this are irrespective and irresponsible as they don’t have a negative suffix at the end.
Although the origin of the word is uncertain, Wikipedia say that “irregardless is an informal term commonly used in place of regardless or irrespective which has caused controversy since it first appeared in the early twentieth century”.
Even though the word irregardless has now been added to some dictionaries, namely Merriam-Webster, American Heritage Dictionaries and Oxford English Dictionaries, it is a non-standard word which should be used with caution, explain Quick and Dirty Tips.com (Grammar Girl). In their article called ‘Irregardless Versus Regardless’ they also say how language experts believe irregardless has been formed from the words regardless and irrespective.
So, do you write regardless or irregardless?
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