In Regards To

By Maeve Maddox

A web search for “in regards to” brings up 680 million links, thousands of which lead to articles telling readers that “in regards to” is nonstandard English. Apparently quite a few English speakers have managed to avoid reading any of them.

Nonstandard “in regards to” continues to spread, and not just on blogs and in comments written by the educationally challenged. Here are some examples from sites that aspire to some sort of professional expertise:

Elasticity of Ridership In Regards to Transit Fare and Service Changes –headline over an About.com article

ICA President McLean Changes Tune in Regards to CCE –headline at The Chronicle of Chiropractic

Nitrogen Inversion in regards to Stereochemistry –title of study guide at ucla.edu

McDonalds in regards to globalization and business change –title of an essay offered at a UK site

The phrase “in regard to” means “about, regarding, concerning.” Speakers who put an “s” on regard in “in regard to” and “with regard to” are perhaps confusing these phrases with “as regards”:

As regards your question concerning the membership of the Universal House…

BBC policy as regards interviewers/journalists and their relationship with government officials

In the expressions “in regard to” and “with regard to,” regard is a noun; in the expression “as regards,” regards is a verb.

The noun regard does take the plural in certain other idioms. For example,

Give my regards to your parents.
Best regards, Sam

Speakers who find it difficult to remember to omit the “s” can avoid nonstandard “in regards to” and “with regards to” by using regarding in their place.

Related post: In Regard to Your Letter…

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2 Responses to “In Regards To”

  • Dale A. Wood

    Maeve, I do not like the phrase “in regard to”, either, because this three-word phrase can readily be changed to a single word, as you have pointed out in your article: “about, regarding, concerning.”

    Once again, I think that those who use “in regard to” or “in regards to” are just trying to sound like wordy chromedomes. They get to use three words instead of just one! How about “in connection with”? That also looks quite wordy to me.

    LOL: I need to go to Dr. Seuss now about “in regard to” – Not with a fox, not in a box, not in a train, not in the rain, not in a park, not in the dark. I do not like it, and I will not eat it, Sam I am.
    Maybe now I should change “Sam I am” to “Maeve the ma’am”.

  • Geoffrey Grehan

    In an otherwise helpful posting, your unnecessarily snarky zinger, “…the educationally challenged,” is basically offering a person help with one hand and slapping him or her in the face with the other.

    If you want people to bother choosing your site for information and help, don’t insult them for making a mistake. Why bother using your site when there are many more to choose from?

    It stands to reason that you or someone went to the trouble of creating a website so people would actually use it. A person who feels you have offended them might very well find it a far more satisfactory use of time to post a warning on facebook to avoid using your site.

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