Things that make me go "GRRRRRR" Vol. 1: "Irregardless"

I'm just going to go ahead and throw this out there: I hate the "word" irregardless. If I never heard that "word" again I'd be happy...or content at least. I don't know how long this abomination has existed but I first remember hearing it 5 or 6 years ago. I know people use incorrect English all the time but for some reason hearing someone say irregardless makes me insane with rage - especially if it's from someone who should know better. When I was still in college I actually heard a professor use the term. The ironic thing is that he was a self-professed "grammar Nazi" who claimed that he would give you an automatic F if you incorrectly used to, too, they're, their, or there twice in one paper!

There are several reasons why "irregardless" infuriates me so, here they are in futuristic list format:

  1. Why use a longer fake word when there's a shorter real one that means the exact same thing? - Seriously, "regardless" is a whole syllable shorter and using it doesn't make you sound like a blithering dolt to other people. Just think of all the time you could be saving by simply using correct English. You could potentially have an extra three or four seconds a week to spend convincing yourself Big Brother isn't an awful show.
  2. It doesn't mean what you think it means! - People who say irregardless use it in place of regardless. A simple 6th grade English lesson could quickly show them the error of their ways: The prefix -ir is negative, when you place it in front of a word it makes the word mean the opposite of it's intended usage i.e. rational becomes not rational when you place -ir in front of it. Still scratching your heads? Here's the same paragraph in terms you may understand: IF YOU REPLACE REGARDLESS WITH IRREGARDLESS YOU ARE SAYING THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO SAY! STOP SAYING IRREGARDLESS OR I WILL PUSH YOU DOWN A HILL!
  3. Many people who use irregardless also abuse other trendy buzz-words. - I've noticed that many irregardless-users I've come into contact with also throw around other "smart sounding" terms incorrectly; words such as ironic, existential and post-modern. I'm going to level with you, I have no idea what post-modern means...that's why I never say it. (I've seen Tim use it in several blogs but he's got a Masters and I've never heard him say irregardless, so I trust that he's using it right.) What I do know is that irregardless is not a word, ironic doesn't mean funny and having to choose between chocolate and vanilla does not constitute an existential crisis. If you don't know what something means don't repeat it until you learn what it means...unless you want me to push you down a hill.
  4. People who say irregardless are smug chumps who want you to think they're smart. - Whenever I hear someone utter irregardless I automatically imagine that they're saying to themselves, "Ohhh, good one Lance. You dropped irregardless on his ass. He's still going to be chewing on that extra syllable when you're in your Prias, driving to Barnes & Noble to drink double mocha fraps and listen to Arcade Fire on your I-Pod." Well, you know what Lance? I like Arcade Fire too! And I'm on to you you arrogant turd. I know you have an FHM stashed inside that copy of "Beyond Good and Evil" you're pretending to read. You better pray to God I never find you standing on top of a steep hill...

I guess it's unfair of me to characterize everyone who's guilty of this error as stupid and pretentious...but a lot of them really are so I'm generalizing. Am I being harsh? Most definitely. But if I can channel my throbbing angerection into something positive, like putting an end to the word irregardless, maybe I'll sleep better at night. I may also prevent a premature death brought on by years of suppressing the maelstrom of rage I harbor inside myself. This swirling vortex of misanthropy devoured my soul long ago, leaving only the urge to mock others for my enjoyment and yours.



Tim Mathis said…
You always were the angry one.

You should never assume that anyone uses the word 'postmodern' correctly. It's one of those philosophical buzzwords that is so broad as to be meaningless, but usually refers to some form of relativism.

It's usually identified originally with a form of literary criticism that tried to assert that there was no true 'meaning' in literature, only interpretation. That is, there is no 'correct' reading of a book. I came across it first in an English class at MUM where the professor insisted that you couldn't really 'know' anything--even that if you ran really hard at the wall your face would slam into it. Now you can apply that fun philosophy to anything--theology, film, science, everyday conversation, you name it. It's a great sort of 'I give up' philosophy:

Real life example: 'What?! Math? That's hard! And in the postmodern world there's no 'true' answer anyway so why waste our time? Let's smoke some American Spirit's and drink PBR.'

Use it in a sentence: 'The nihilists on Big Lebowski were good post-moderns.'

'Postmodern' also means about a thousand other things as well. There's no 'true' meaning anyway. Where's my PBR?
Shayne Mathis said…
PBR...bleck! I just finished off an ice cold bottle of Bohemia. It's as delicious as it is expensive.

In college I took a 400 level philosophy course dealing with the nature of knowledge and a lot of what we talked about sounds like post-modernism but the Prof. never referred to it as that. We covered inductive reasoning, a priori justification, the philosophy of David Hume, blah, blah, blah. It was an interesting course. The Prof didn't really take sides. Class was heavily focused on discussion with the Prof. playing Devil's Advocate with everyone. The most fun days where when the pot-heads got into heated arguments with the egg-heads.

On another note, post-modernism sounds a lot like existentialism in that it's definition is nebulous and it's only "real world" utility is picking up hot bookish chicks.

Ex) "Well hello there ma'am. I like those frappuccino glasses you're wearing. Sayyyy, is that Being and Nothingness you're reading? I just finished Camus' The Stranger myself. Hey, I've got an idea. Why don't you come over to my place and we can discuss existential themes present in Kurosawa's film my bed? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I'm an awful person.
tim said…
yeah, if you were talking about the nature of knowledge, you were probably talking about postmodernism at some point.

And I have no idea what existentialism is--other than to know that the existentialists get lumped in with the postmoderns frequently.
sally said…
THAT was a great post, Shayne. . The way you can explore the one minor issue from so many angles to reinforce (or irreinforce) the issue is priceless.

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