Letters to the Editor

Grammar check

October 14, 2007


To the editor:

Let's hope that the Lawrence school board member quoted in the story about how "Several Lawrence schools achieved excellence last year in the state's eyes" did not mean to use the word "irregardless."

American Heritage Dictionary - ir*re*gard*less, adv. Nonstandard Regardless.

"Irregardless" is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. It has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of "irrespective" and "regardless" and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. It has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

Let's hope, also, that the Lawrence school board does not sanction "teaching to the test" in order to raise the state's national ranking on standardized testing as a southeastern state, where I lived for almost 15 years, did. Our children are the losers if that is the case. They are the winners if teachers have been trained to teach properly the subject(s) in which they have expertise.

Barbara M. Paris,



Bradley Kemp 9 years ago

No careful writer would use "subject(s)" in place of "subject or subjects."

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

irregardless of this letter, we could have a letter to the editor almost every day correcting the LJW's headlines/news copy.
[note, irregardless was only used as a humorous bridge for this comment, and no participles were harmed in the writing of this comment.]

Confrontation 9 years ago

Someone is sure on a "high horse."

GretchenJP 9 years ago

This reminds me of the joke of the teacher who asked the student who was horrible at grammar, "young man, WHERE is your grammar?" to which the young boy replied, "at home making cookies." Okay yeah, corny but cute. Seriously, though, my mom is an English teacher and has really instilled grammar into me... my whole childhood was spent being corrected by her.

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

Wow. Someone obviously needs a hug as they are waaaaaay too uptight!

Some folks' grammar is reflecting of their geographic area and/or upbringing. As long as we know what we mean, why in the world does it matter these days? I have friends and family in Oklahoma who use what we would consider improper grammar, and I love them dearly and wouldn't change a thing about them.

Have a piece of chocolate and chill out, for heaven's sake.

temperance 9 years ago

Grammar expert June Casagrande on weirdoes who obsess over "irregardless":

"They don't care that 'irregardless' actually is a word. They don't care how many dictionaries you open up and point to the word 'irregardless' sandwiched somewhere between 'irrational' and 'irregularity.' Confronted with this documentation, a seasoned grammar snob will merely snort and point to the definition next to the word the definition that says that 'irregardless' means that's right 'regardless.'" (Casagrande, June. 2006. Grammar snobs are Great Big Meanies, Penguin Books, 94-94.)

I think Ms. Paris is insecure, so she's clinging to this "gotcha" moment as a way of asserting her cultural capital.

BrianR 9 years ago

Damn, and we outlawed rope last week.

ralphralph 9 years ago

Grammar matters. If we are to communicate, we must share a common means of communication. I would propose the English language as that means.

thebigspoon 9 years ago

Gretchen, you should have listened better. The "..." you used in place of "and" is not acceptable gramatically. But, your point is well taken.

Soup2Nuts 9 years ago

This reminds me of another favorite phrase commonly used in Journal-World stories, and that is "....the family member turned up missing." Look, they either turned up or they're missing. Pick one!

nettieb 9 years ago

As much as a stickler as I am about grammar, I would never be so arrogant about it that I would write a letter to the editor of a news paper about it.

Get over yourself, Barb.

nettieb 9 years ago

I'll correct my own sentence.

As much of a stickler as I am about grammar, I would never be so arrogant about it that I would write a letter to the editor of a newspaper about it.

I obsessed over it and changed it. THAT'S how much of a stickler I am.

feeble 9 years ago

"irregardless" is a perfectly cromulent word; it only embiggens the English language.. I realize there may be a misunderestimated if proper grammar isn't used, but aren't we just being agnorant by playing the grammar fascist card?

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

nebbieb is a stickler. Trust me. She has stickled me many a time!

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years ago

"... a southeastern state, where I lived for almost 15 years...."

Well, that explains it... just trying to distance herself, by whatever means possible, from an uncomfortable former affiliation.

clockworkowl 9 years ago

"This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."- Winston Churchill

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