<em>Black Press file photo </em>

Black Press file photo

Clare’s Corner: ‘Their our know rules’: the difficulties of English

Earlier this year, ‘irregardless’ was officially added to the English dictionary

For those who aren’t aware, back in June/early-July 2020, Merriam-Webster dictionary officially defined the word “irregardless.”

“Irregardless” means the exact same thing as “regardless,” which means ‘despite everything else’ when used as an adverb and ‘careless’ or ‘heedless’ when used as an adjective. However, many people use ‘irregardless’ instead of ‘regardless,’ despite the former not technically being an actual word prior to this summer.

It’s a word that many people have many qualms with, as the ‘ir’ at the beginning doesn’t actually add anything or change the word’s meaning in any way. Merriam-Webster decided to officially define it because “it has been in use for well over 200 years, employed by a large number of people across a wide geographic range and with a consistent meaning,” they wrote on their website.

However, the many articles written about it showed that the employees who had to define the word were not happy to be including it in the official dictionary and decided to be mildly petty about it. Because of that, the official dictionary definition of ‘irregardless’ is simply “regardless.”

As someone who writes for a living, in English, in particular, I often find myself conflicted with some words and whether or not they should be included in the dictionary. On one hand, yes, they’ve been used for centuries, but on the other hand, just because they’ve been used for a long time, does that mean they’re actually right? And right enough to be included in the dictionary?

To me, ‘irregardless’ feels like just another eggcorn — a word or phrase that results from mishearing or misinterpreting another word or phrase (e.g. nip it in the ‘butt’ instead of nip it in the ‘bud’).

Now, because it’s a dictionary-defined word, I’m not going to complain about it for too long because there’s nothing really I can do. It’s not a word I’d ever use myself, but I’ll try my best to not make a huge deal out of it.

I do love the English language and all its complexities, though.

I’m not very good at math. I did well in math classes at school, but try to get me to add, divide, or figure out percentages at a moment’s notice and my brain completely freezes up. But for some people, math comes easy to them. Get them to multiply two large numbers at the drop of a hat and within a few seconds they can give you the correct answer.

My brain definitely doesn’t work like that, which is why I love English and words and grammar so much. That’s something my brain actually understands, for one reason or another. English, History, writing papers, articles, stories, you name it. I love the diversity and openness of writing, even if it means accepting words like ‘irregardless.’

English is a tricky language, that’s for sure. Spelling, grammar, proper sentences are all key parts of the language, all of which have changed and adapted as language and society did. Text lingo such as “LOL” (laughing out loud) and “luv” (instead of ‘love’) have also been added to the dictionary in past years, marking them as an official part of the English language.

But regardless of the fact that I love to laugh out loud — and likely use many of these words while I’m texting — don’t expect to see too many nonstandard or texting words or eggcorns from me in the paper anytime soon. That’s something I’ll make sure I’m nipping in the butt!

— Clare Rayment, Kitimat Northern Sentinel editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Design work continues for planned new hospital

Construction contract still in the works

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Time to check the mail: Every household to receive a Canada Post postcard this spring

Postcard can be mailed for free to any address in Canada

Most Read