Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Logical Absurdity

With a post on the infamous Lehigh Valley Ramblings dedicated to this humble blog, maybe one or two people might stumble over here today. So I figured I would use this opportunity to briefly get back on the grammar soapbox and vent about the mistake that is probably my biggest pet peeve--I'm not sure how I left it off of my first post about grammar: irregardless.

Although you will find it if you look in the dictionary, I think this note from says it best:

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. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, 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. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

"Logical absurdity"--I like that. Maybe the next time I hear someone use irregardless I will point out the logical absurdity of it.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Susan, you shoulkd spend one hour listening to my friend, Ton Angle. He might be the brightest guy I know, but his grammar might actually kill you.

Susan said...

Bernie, I think grammar is kind of like spelling. There are plenty of brilliant people that just can't spell--and it has nothing to do with relying on spellcheck. They just can't do it.

Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of brilliant people that just can't spell ..."

In your usage, the word "that" defines the antecedent "people." While some might give a pass on the grammatical correctness of this usage (although certainly not the nuns who pulled my hair), it is sloppy nonetheless.

Things are "that" and people are "who, whose, and whom.

Regardless, I love my right brain.

Susan said...

Anonymous: Ugh, you're right. I hate it when I make that mistake. But I know I do it often, because I'm never 100% certain when to correctly use "whom". When speaking I feel like people will think I'm a snob when I use it...especially if using it incorrectly!

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy said...

I can never get who/whom correct. I get the that/who thing, just not who/whom. If someone misuses them, I would never know it.

I love the phrase "logical absurdity," too. Although accusing someone of that might get you punched. Use with care.