I heard a coworker this morning use “irregardless” in a sentence. As in, “it’ll happen irregardless of the situation.” This made me cringe inside. Irregardless ain’t a word…and this was the third time in two days I’d heard it used.
Come on, people!
After all, like Bush and Cheney, it’s a double negative. The prefix (“ir-“) and suffix “-less” cancel each other out. REGARDLESS of what anybody else tells you.
Full of righteous indignation – grammar nazi that I am – I turned to the internet to bolster my claim. And was quite surprised to learn that irregardless actually is a word. Well, kind of. Hence the asterisk in my title.
‘Tis true. Irregardless is listed in several otherwise respectable dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster’s. The caveat? They call it a “nonstandard” or “incorrect” word. Yet a word nonetheless.
This revelation is messin’ with my mind, man. It’s got me rethinking my entire vocabulary. Now I’m wondering if the people I always accuse of screwing up “your” and “you’re” have been right all along. Same with the “there,” “their” and “they’re” folks. Could it be that I’m the one confusing “to” and “too”? Should I really be using “literally” figuratively? I should of known alot of this. It’s everyday knowledge. And don’t get me started on apostrophe’s. Serial commas? Not on my watch, buddy.
My coworkers are going to have to stop coming to me with grammar questions. Clearly, I’ve been wrong about everything for years.
Staying Up Late on a School Night
Yesterday I visited with some family members I hadn’t seen in 30 years.
My mom’s cousin was in town. They used to live in New Jersey, but moved to Utah several years ago to be closer to their daughter Shannon, who is – if you’re keeping track – my second cousin. Anyway (or should I start using “anyways”?), they drove out to visit my grandmother, who is my mom’s cousin’s aunt.
Confused yet? I am.
Irregardless, they were here, and that’s what’s important. We got together for what those in the South would call supper. It wasn’t dinner because it was too early, wasn’t lunch because it was too late, and wasn’t brunch because there were no eggs involved. Whatever you call a meal you eat at 2:30 PM. It was a nice visit. Seriously, I hadn’t seen them since the summer of 1980 or ’81. That year, my parents shipped me and my brother off to Trenton, where we stayed with my mom’s cousin’s aunt…err, my grandmother…for a few weeks. One day we went up to Montclair (northern Jersey) to hang out with Shannon, who was our age, and her family. My fondest memory involves a trip to New York City and a visit to the World Trade Center. We went up to the very top – the observation deck – and I was blown away by both the height and the view. Talk about a dizzying, endless horizon. I’m glad we got the opportunity to go. But that was also the last time I’d seen these people. It’s always strange when you meet the adult version of a person you only ever knew as a kid. Shannon was now a recently divorced single mom of two, with decades worth of experiences I knew nothing about.
We got to talking about music, and mentioned an indie rock band getting a lot of buzz lately, The War on Drugs. I just picked up their new album on vinyl last week, and it’s phenomenal. They were playing at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland last night, and Tara and I had been kicking around the idea of going. When Shannon heard that, she asked if we minded if she tagged along. Well, we hadn’t even decided if we were really going, because we’re old now and shows on work nights keep us out past our bedtime. But you only live once, and we used to do this all the time. So Tara bought tickets, and we swung by Shannon’s hotel room a couple of hours later to pick her up. (Incidentally, Audrey ended up babysitting her kids, which was awesome as she’s never done anything like that before. But she was paid handsomely for her efforts…which was exactly why she did it. I love how much she’s changed and improved since coming to live with us). Also, she was in room 314. Of course. (The number 14 pops up in our lives all the time).
Initial reservations aside, I ended up having a great time. The Wonder Ballroom (built in 1914) was a terrific venue, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We had a couple of drinks, found comfortable seats in the mezzanine, and settled down for some awesome rock ‘n roll. The War on Drugs put on a fantastic show, and the opening act – White Laces – was pretty good, too. All my worries over staying out late on a school night disappeared in the melodic guitar, bass, drum and piano flourishes of “Under The Pressure.” I love music too much to let a little thing like a Sunday night stop me from enjoying it.
And then Shannon asked if we could leave.
Granted, it was after 11 PM, and The War on Drugs had been playing for more than an hour. Their set had to be nearly over. But “nearly” isn’t “over,” so I’ll admit I was a little irritated that our guest wanted to bug out early. Irregardless, it was a fun evening, and I’m glad we did it. We may be a little tired today, but like I said, you only live once.
Or do you…?
But that’s another far more existential post…
19 thoughts on “Irregardless Ain’t a Word*”
I’m always careful as to how I write on here and on FB because of you being a grammar Nazi. I wish there was a way to show us if our punctuation was wrong like it does when we have a word spelled wrong and you get an ugly red line under your word.
You crack me up, Mark. Seriously.
Glad you and yours had a good time last night. Regardless of how late you stayed up. So there!!
You strike me as a good writer, though. After all, I once followed you on OD! But that was a lifetime ago. So there!
Since when did “conflict” as noun or verb become adjective “conflicted” ? Hear it all the time. Ya know, it makes me nuts, just like the people that start a sentence with “ya know” , ya know? Then there are 8 “like’s” in every sentence.
Ya know, that’s like a very astute, like, observation.
It’s funny Mark, because I’ve heard some people use the word irregardless before and it just sounds weird, doesn’t it? So of course before leaving this comment I Googled it, and sure enough…it IS a word, but not considered standard.
My thing is its versus it’s. Even to this day, I have think about it before using either one.
Glad to hear you had a great time with your family.
Took me a while to nail “its” and “it’s.” I remember the first time I sent a manuscript off to an agent; I received a quick lesson on differentiating those two words, and it has stuck with me to this day.
LOL Sorry I had to laugh at the irregardless at the end! I’m like you. Thank kind of thing bugs the shit out of me. Sara calls me a grammar snob, but I can’t help it. Sorry Shannon wanted to leave early.
I don’t know how many posts I may have missed, but I’ve been away from my computer most of the weekend. And, I’m afraid, it’s going to be a busy month for me–traveling to the beach, teaching a week-long workshop, and having friends visit from the US.
Irregardless of the fun, it’s gonna be busy!
Hugs from Ecuador,
Sounds like a busy but fun time, Kathy! And you didn’t miss anything on this end. I actually went a rare 6 days between posts this time!
Have fun and enjoy your company. PS: Tara had a dream the other night that we visited you and Sara!
Non standard words are always popping up, people use them to sound ‘smart’. The rest of us think, ‘dang they sound stoopid’. Then, after a very long while college dropouts like Bill Gates sprinkle these words in their speeches, their stumps and we begin to accept these words into our lexicon. Still we think, these aren’t ‘real’ words, not natural words; irregardless we slip them in.
Glad you had a good time. Loved the ballroom, very cool.
Man, I wish I was a college dropout like Bill!! But I still wouldn’t use words like irregardless.
I had never thought of the word ‘irregardless’ before, but you’re right – that’s a double negative! I like the word ‘disregard’ though; I think of it as a polite form of snubbing.
FYI – for some reason, even though my sign in below appears on my ipad, I’ve tried replying about 4X, but my reply has never appeared once I hit the ‘Post Comment’……..I’m trying on the desktop to see if this works now. Never had a problem before this week replying on my ipad, but there is another blog that I couldn’t respond to this week as well.
Ron alerted me to your comment problems and lo and behold, I found a bunch of yours in my Spam folder. I have no idea – unless you’re like me, and enjoy the canned meat product from Hormel! Hopefully the problem is fixed now, but I’ll try to be more diligent and check it often. WordPress can be finicky sometimes.
I’ve had trouble commenting on your blog for a few days. It’s funny that I’ve never thought about irregardless being a double negative. I like to use ‘disregard’ because it seems like polite snubbing.
I agree! I’m surprised nobody has coined the term “disregardless” yet!
Sorry to comment bomb you.
No, not at all. I never even check my Spam folder – there’s an awful lot of junk in there. Which means it does its job 99% of the time!