Irregardless or Regardless? What is the difference?

Not only is “irregardless” an incorrect spelling, but it’s also the grammatical equivalent to listening to nails on a chalkboard (or some other high screeching, ear-piercing noise). 

There are many websites and professional dictionaries that claim “irregardless” is a word, it’s just “nonstandard.” But this is a bunch of fluff. Only in the last several years has pop culture tried to chock this up to “language is a living thing.” In that, it’s supposed to change and adjust over time.

What “Regardless” Means

“Regardless” is an adverb that means in spite of, despite, aside from or not letting something be an effect. To understand what “regardless” means, it’s best to study the examples below:

She went to the movies regardless of her mother’s forbiddance.

Regardless, it’s time we faced facts and understood the truth about our situation.

The police tried to stop the protest, but the activists pressed on regardless.

Why “Irregardless” Is Wrong; Why People Use It Wrong

“Irregardless” isn’t even a word, so it’s puzzling as to why people tend to use it. There are many people who theorize the reason for this misuse is because they’re confusing it with another synonym for “regardless,” which would be “irrespective.”

This is because the prefix, ir– before a word infers something “not” or “in.” This would doubly negate the word “regardless” and make it an unnecessary word to use all the way around. What’s more, it would confuse the idea’s conveyance. To understand this better, check a correct example and replace “regardless” with “irregardless:”

She went to the movies irregardless of her mother’s forbiddance.

She went to the movies [in regardless] of her mother’s forbiddance.

She went to the movies [not regardless] of her mother’s forbiddance.

As you can see, it doesn’t make sense. If she went to the moves IN or NOT “regardless” of her mother’s forbiddance, she wouldn’t have went at all.


Therefore, this is easy to remember: always use “regardless.” This is the only appropriate form and there is no difference between “regardless” and “irregardless. Unfortunately, even native speakers will use it far too often to be appropriate.