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The Word Is Regardless

Updated on July 8, 2011

Why can't you be arrested for murdering a language?

Sometimes I have to laugh. I am left with no choice but to see the humor and irony in it.

Recently, I have had the pleasure of perusing the classifieds online in search of that perfect writing or teaching job. My quest has revealed (I can't say surprisingly) the absolute mangling our language is suffering. Our language is being dismantled, disassembled and dismembered on a daily basis. My only wish is that I had the time to notify all those who literally murder our language. In one particularly amusing ad the employer emphasized that “Aplicants must have impeckable grammer and spelling to be considerd.” It’s rather amusing and frightening all at the same time; amusing for the mixed messages being sent and frightening because somebody is going to read it without knowing the difference. Then I considered that perhaps this person might be a victim of Hooked on Phonics.

Technology vs. Technique

I remember a time when spelling and grammar actually counted for something; when classroom spelling bees challenged and, sometimes, embarrassed us. But the idea was sound. Learn the words, and you just might be able to use them. Grab a paper and pencil, and write. I think it put us more in touch with the language. We relied on ourselves, a dictionary, and “i-before-e” rules. English wasn’t just a set of inconvenient rules we followed; it was a testament to our education to be able to spell correctly and put a sentence together grammatically.

We live in a world of technology and I embrace it. I like the old school way of thinking, but I rely on new technology to make it more convenient. It will not, as far as I can see, replace the knowledge I have acquired and I won’t let it make me lazy; though it would be easy (I know this from the plethora of software ads beckoning me to enter a few keywords to create a completely unique article). Spell checkers are great, but nothing will replace a good proofreading. Who hasn’t sent a message with “form” where a “from” should have been? Who hasn’t become a casualty of the occasional “bye,” “by,” or “buy” debacle, or the “too,” “to,” or “two” calamity?

Text and Context

From my perspective, I find it annoying whenever I hear a professional using words out of context, or using words that don’t exist. “Irregardless” is one of my biggest pet peeves. Let’s break down the word as if it did exist. When used, its context usually references that which the word “regardless” already has covered. In most cases, when “ir” is added to a word it means the opposite of the root word; like irrelevant or irrational. If regardless means without regard, wouldn’t irregardless mean with regard?

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are a lot of confusing rules and, for that matter, exceptions to the rules. Take the prefix “in.” When added to comparable, one becomes unique or incomparable. I can be the opposite of discreet by being indiscreet. But, when added to flammable, one becomes flammable or inflammable. Why is that? When added to genius, one becomes genius-like or ingenious. Which prompts two questions: “Is genius the root word, and if so, where did the “o” come from in ingenious?” One might call it incredibly inconvenient or inconceivable. Would that be an example of sight or insight?

Wasting a Beautiful Language

These nuances give our language its beautiful complexity. In the hands of a literary master (which I am not), these same words can paint pictures that Monet would envy. These words can transport us to places unseen and only imagined; extremes of serenity, terror, joy, or sorrow. We may all have an inner Shakespeare or Hemingway, but how are we to find out if all we write are IM’s, BFF’s and LOL’s? How are we to expound literally if creativity is defined by search terms and Google? I wonder what clever critique would be penned by Oscar Wilde when reviewing articles written to be SEO compliant.

My greatest hope is that we don’t completely lose track of the one truly social skill that sets us apart from the animal kingdom; the written word. It is not for me to judge. I barely made it through high school. But if not for a certain command of the language, I would not be where I am today. Unemployed and answering ads placed by those that have spelling issues.


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    • profile image

      Paul Callaghan 7 years ago

      At the risk of being pedantic I think you'll find there is only one M in Hemingway.

    • profile image

      Lila 7 years ago

      I was reading this just for the heck of it and I have to say that it is pretty funny. I personally have never heard the word "irregardless" before but it is really amusing that people actually use it. I also agree with many of your points.

      Great article!

    • puppascott profile image

      puppascott 8 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

      I wondered if it was my place to write this or not, being a newbie and all, but it was fun. I live in a glass house, so I limit my rock throwing.

      I did try a forum with this one. I had some great responses.


    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Amen, Puppa! Thank you for saying what had to be said. There is no substitute for a good dictionary or thesaurus.

      There are a few grammar sticklers on HP who I hope will find their way to your hub. If nothing else, for solidarity.

      There are quite a few hubbers who have great ideas and rank high in popularity. And yet, they make consistent grammar mistakes in their hubs (and comments) that (not to be confused with which) drive me up the wall. Of course, it is not my place to correct someone who uses "there" when they really mean "they're" or "it's" when the correct word choice is "its." Why? Because even if my grammar is generally good, I know my punctuation sometimes defies the rules (ok, it sucks).

      Again, thank you for sharing YOUR pet peeve. This topic would also make a fun Hubbers (or Hubber's or Hubbers') Hangout post!

    • puppascott profile image

      puppascott 8 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

      Great suggestion. I will do that now!

    • Lady Rogue profile image

      Lady Rogue 8 years ago from Cleveland Heights, Ohio

      I love you, Puppa! We used to be able to use those little telltale grammatical errors to discern between the literate and illiterate. People just don't take the time to truly read or listen anymore. I, too, am an old-school, i-before-e student. I am so grateful for my early education as well as the handy dictionary I keep next to my computer! You should have let Amazon sell some dictionaries here!

    • puppascott profile image

      puppascott 8 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

      I just want to know how it gets past all those spell-checkers, and how many people actually add it to there spell-checker dictionary.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 8 years ago from san diego calif

      puppa this Is kind of a crackup because so many people are not aware this word does not exist .