When discussing pet peeves in language, my fellow word lovers often mention the use of the word "irregardless."
Some have even expressed concern that its use is becoming so common that it may actually be included in dictionaries before long.
Bad news – it already is. BUT – those dictionaries note that it is NOT standard use. What does that mean? It means they recognize that it is common use, but it really isn't a proper word. It's lumped in with slang and jargon.
So WHY is irregardless not a proper word?
Because it's a double negative. Remember grade school – double negatives are a no-no. They're things like "I don't have no," which actually says "I don’t have not any," and means "I have some."
"Irregardless" is another double negative, which means it makes no sense.
The word "regardless" means regard-less – or without regard.
"Ir" is a negative prefix that means "not" or "without" – so "irregardless" means without without regard, or… with regard. And that, of course, is not the meaning that those who use it have in mind.
So, don't worry, word lovers. People will go on using it and annoying you, but Grammar Girl believes we won't see "irregardless" listed as a proper word any time soon.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles|freedigitalphotos.net