Magazine August 24, 2020, Issue

It Ain’t a Word!

(ra2studio/Getty Images)

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks in English-usage circles. People are upset over the question whether *irregardless is a word. (My asterisk, as you may remember from earlier columns, marks it as nonstandard.) The widespread hand-wringing was precipitated by a jaunty online post by an editor at Merriam-Webster. She noted that *irregardless (she didn’t use the asterisk) is a recognized word. It’s in the dictionary.

Linguistic amateurs exploded: They’d spent years disparaging *irregardless. I received at least a dozen e-mails asking whether I was aware that *irregardless had now been sanctioned in Merriam-Webster dictionaries. “What an outrage!” one correspondent said. Had

To Read the Full Story

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Join Now
Bryan A. Garner — Mr. Garner is the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, Garner’s Modern English Usage, and The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

In memory of the late Herman Cain, please join us in saying nine Hail Marys, nine Our Fathers, and nine Glory Bes.


The Latest