Wow! I feel like a child that made a comment before going to bed and finds the grownups arguing at 5am about what I said. So let me see where we are in this discussion:
* Regardless is okay.
* Irregard is okay.
* Regardless is okay
* Irregardless is not okay, but where it is part of the dialect/vernacular speaking group it is acceptable.
And additional reasons it is not a word is that it is a double negative within the word, never had that in English class or've forgotten that rule. Although we weren’t allow to makeup our own words, we had to rely on pop culture and movies for new words. . . weren’t allowed to use contractions either that’s why there are so many now in my writing. Well that, and because Data cain’t us’em.
So, you shan’t use it because the person whom you are speaking too that might be from another dialectic group might not understand irregardless’ meaning. I’m quite sure you are mistaken about that because each time another person uses it around me I say, “ come now you know that’s not a word, but go ahead I know what you mean.” LOL
It’s not proper because it wasn’t in the dictionary until Webster put it in, but it’s not in the OED I presume.
Using it is a degeneration of the English language, because thankfully English is a generation of the Norman French & Germanic Saxon, which are respectively generations of Gaul & Latin, and Celtic & Germanic (?). I wonder what all those Saxon grandmothers thought about the new court-speak coming out of London?
Because if I don’t use it I will stand against the tide of stupidity, that are a bunch of yahoos who are going to jump in the lake, even on a hot day, because I’m a proper English school boy and will be whipped by Shakespeare when I get home. Oh sorry, by Samuel Johnson...
However, I can use it colloquially if I want to represent a uneducated stupid inexact speaking pratt. Goodness knows I ain’t one of them.
Okay I have had my fun...
Since my boss is always telling me if you are going to mentions a problem at least come with a solution too. I suggest that to balance the universe and go with popular convention we do what the Germans do, which is to use capitalization to help the confusion. We can be trendy, there are two possible solutions:
1) Since “irregardless” keeps showing up in the spell checker as WRONG, we could hyphenate. You know just like the correct way to spell e-mail or is it email now, I’m so confused. Now ir-regardless looks grand, except the draconian spell checker doesn’t recognize “ir”.
2) Or else, we could do what will provide a tribute to the Germanic root of English and use capitalization, but with an American twist, lets user camel-font and clear it up, such as IrRegardless.
The camel-font could actually be useful, by requiring every Standard English writer to have to capitalize the syllable that the correct emphasis/stress should be on. So in Standard English, to show I can be a conscious writer (and there by a thinking speaker), we would spell it properly as irregardLess. Nice! But what happens if I am of another dialectic group and were place the emphasis on another sylLable. I think the Germans wanting to simplify their capitalization is all wrong; they should increase it. And it would let folks sell new spell-checking software; "Now with CAMEL FONT spelling feature!"
Hey perhaps that explains why spelling before the dictionary varied so much in literature like The Green Knight or Cantebury Tales. Perhaps it is not bad spelling, but actually indicating a different emphasis or dialectic pronunciation, that was destroyed by the Johnson dictionary.
Okay I am really done now...
I did a Google search of the web, it’s what I do, and got some interesting numbers which are probably typical of the vernacular of the mainly middle-class folks that make up the American/British English writing & speaking population. 891K uses of “irregardless”, but this is less than <1% when compared to the 409M correct uses of “regardless”. This number at first glance might vindicate the “regardless” camp, but I propose, that lot’s of folks use spell checking on posts so this might be actually an artificially low number. I think it is amazing what a good job our teachers did in school to ingrain ‘irregardLess’ as incorrect.
So I am intrigued by “I could care less” (2.06M references), but in regard to this phase some implied subtlety has not been stated. This is a phrase of distain & sarcasm that in its tone people often include other signs of disregard in the phrase. So if we perhaps consider the colloquial intent of “i couldn't care less" (871K) we can justify the bad grammar, because it is intentional whether it is based on conscious intent or is just habitual.
I also checked “i could not care less" which came up with 78.2K references. So basically "i couldn't/not care less" makes up 46% of the references, perhaps not enough to win the popular vote, but enough to make it a legitimate phrase in the English language. Think about this, if marketing group could get 46% of any market, they would be considered a dominant force in that sector. Also it is a phrase aren't rules governing a little more lax?
I’m sure you couldn’t care less, but email vs e-mail is 6.39M vs 10.3M, and gray vs grey is 298M v 199M. Some spell checkers do not accept one version of grey or the other. Looks like Microsoft Word are surely influencing the development of English & perhaps retarding it.
I hope you take my comments in the amused way they are intended.
I do appreciate everyone’s comments, bickering, and expertise; nothing like a long threat that stays on topic.
861,000 for irregardless
409,000,000 for regardless
2,060,000 for "i could care less"
871,000 for "i couldn't care less".
78,200 for "i could not care less".
6,390,000,000 for email
10,290,000,000 for e-mail
298,000,000 for gray
199,000,000 for grey