It’s a “real word”

Here at Stylebot, we’re not above taking inspiration from the movie “Mean Girls.” We even have guidance on how to write “Mean Girls” Day. (Spoiler alert: We recommend writing it just like you see it in the previous sentence.)

It’s all part of our philosophy that while writing and editing are serious endeavors, we can add a little levity to the process — and acknowledge that the driving force behind the evolution of a language is simply how people use it.

So even though Gretchen Wieners wasn’t able to make fetch happen, we’ll note that she was well within the bounds of documented English usage when she used the word irregardless.

Thought to be a portmanteau of “irrespective” and “regardless,” “irregardless” has been around for more than a century and may go back as far as 1795. Although it clearly has staying power in our speech, it might not do you any favors in formal writing: Merriam-Webster classifies irregardless as “nonstandard,” and the latest edition of Garner’s Modern English Usage calls it “widely shunned.”

A screenshot of a message from Stylebot on Slack that reads: Although "irregardless" is a word, it's not very common in writing. Avoid it except in quoted material: "He said he wanted to move forward 'irregardless of the consequences.'"

Regardless of your view of “irregardless,” you can now confidently win any debate about whether it’s a word, while still sticking to its shorter alternative in your writing.

For more writing tips, check out our new guide on four common words you might want to stop using.

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