Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for breaking their 108-year World Series championship drought. I’m an LA Dodgers fan, but I appreciate the Cubs’ achievement and give them kudos for it. It was a great Series, in which the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games.
Early in the deciding seventh game two nights ago, announcer Joe Buck used the word irregardless. I heard him and made mental note of it because irregardless is not accepted English usage, something well known to language mavens. I didn’t think any more of it—after all, this was a live, unscripted television broadcast, and even the most scrupulous grammar police can slip up on occasion. But evidently it sorely bothered a lot of folk, who took to social media to complain. Merriam-Webster Online even joined the fray with a supercilious attempt to put word nerds in their place by asserting that irregardless is in fact a word and is in the dictionary. Here’s a line from their article: “Irregardless last night reared its monstrous head, and, bellowing its unspeakable name, caused a nation of terror-stricken waifs to whimper and mewl.”
Okay. It’s in the dictionary, so I guess that makes it “a word,” although Merriam-Webster’s own usage dictionary admits that irregardless “is still a long way from winning general acceptance as a standard English word. Use regardless instead.”
Other usage dictionaries aren’t so accepting. One says flatly, “There is no such word as irregardless. It is a redundancy, erroneously patterned after irrespective.”
Another usage authority makes a brutal one-word comment on irregardless: “Illiterate.”
Here’s my bottom line on irregardless: In spoken English it should be avoided, but it’s a forgivable offense. In edited prose literate writers will avoid it. It’s unforgivable. Use regardless in all instances. Δ
 Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, 565.
 Bergen and Cornelia Evans, A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage, 256.
 T. M. Bernstein, The Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage, 244.
© 2016 by Dean Christensen.