Dictionary.com

Word Fact: With Regard To or With Regards To?

withregardsto

Recently a couple of readers wrote to Dictionary.com with an issue they had with one of our slideshows from a few years ago. They objected to the following sentence: “Speakers tend to use [obviously]…to emphasize their point with regards to things that aren’t necessarily obvious…”

Our users told us that the phrases with regards to and in regards to are incorrect, and instead they should be with regard to and in regard to without the s. Were our readers right about this correction?

Yes and no. Historically the phrases with regard to and in regard to have been preferred, with the variants with regards to and in regards to being considered nonstandard or regional. However, in recent years, these once unfavored variants have risen drastically in usage, especially in regards to, which, according to our data, is used nearly twice as often as in regard to.

Before our users drew our attention to this grammar point, we were unaware of it. However, we’ve now added regard to our list of entries to be updated. If you’re torn about which variant to use, and you’re writing in an informal setting, you could always use the abbreviation favored by David Foster Wallace: w/r/t. Which variant do you prefer?

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83 Comments

  1. Ten -  November 21, 2016 - 9:12 am

    Fabrice and Jeff are spot on

    Reply
    • English Major -  December 2, 2016 - 11:38 am

      When in doubt, say “about”!

      Reply
      • God -  December 5, 2016 - 6:39 am

        You’re not going to Heaven.

        Reply
  2. Janet Reed -  November 1, 2016 - 8:38 am

    Can’t just say “about”?

    Reply
  3. Proffeser Zajaczkowski -  October 28, 2016 - 7:50 am

    With regards to everyones comments, I believe this is a FANTASTIC article.

    Reply
  4. Jimmy -  October 21, 2016 - 8:52 am

    Here is a simple rule to determine whether to use ‘with regard to’ or ‘with regards to’:

    Use ‘with regard to’ just if you are making one comment or point about a grammatical object.

    Use ‘with regards to’ just if you making two or more comments or points about a grammatical object.

    Reply
    • Alex -  December 7, 2016 - 8:43 am

      But what if you’re making one point about more than one object? Then you have one regard which is applied to multiple objects, therefore you have regards.

      Reply
  5. Fabrice Dejean -  October 12, 2016 - 12:46 pm

    With regards to this and that….
    With regard to the…
    Regards to…
    A regard is a …several regards were..

    Reply
    • Fabrice Dejean -  October 13, 2016 - 5:44 am

      ‘the’ regard or ‘with’ regards

      Reply
  6. daniel benakot -  September 3, 2016 - 10:48 pm

    why

    Reply
  7. Jerry -  June 23, 2016 - 3:15 am

    The Queen of England is in the best position to decide, after she must have consulted the Royal Historical Grammar Society (if they still exist)

    Reply
    • Fabrice Dejean -  October 13, 2016 - 5:50 am

      The Queen of England was abolished 100′s of years ago.

      Reply
    • Fabrice Dejean -  October 13, 2016 - 5:54 am

      In 1649.

      Reply
  8. Jeff -  March 11, 2016 - 8:38 am

    One very simple way to remember the proper usage is that “regards” is a greeting:

    “Give my regards to Melissa”

    Regard and regarding are terms that point to a particular topic.

    Warm regards,

    Jeff

    Reply
    • Chris -  April 7, 2016 - 3:26 pm

      I prefer “regarding”.

      Reply
    • Tom -  August 5, 2016 - 6:18 am

      Jeff and Anne are absolutely correct. I am shocked that a site called “dictionary.com” would embrace the logical fallacy known as Appeal to Popularity to be a valid gauge of acceptable English usage. I fear the linguistic end is near to, oh sorry, that would be too, or is that passe?

      PLEASE NOTE: APPEAL TO POPULARITY, LOGICAL FALACY:

      Explanation
      Appeals to popularity suggest that an idea must be true simply because it is widely held. This is a fallacy because popular opinion can be, and quite often is, mistaken. Hindsight makes this clear: there were times when the majority of the population believed that the Earth is the still centre of the universe, and that diseases are caused by evil spirits; neither of these ideas was true, despite its popularity.
      Example
      (1) Most people believe in a god or ‘higher power’.
      Therefore:
      (2) God, or at least a higher power, must exist.
      This argument is an appeal to popularity because it suggests that God must exist based solely on the popularity of belief in God. An atheist could, however, accept the premise of this argument (the claim that belief in God is widespread) but reject its conclusion without inconsistency.

      Reply
      • Francisco -  August 29, 2016 - 1:21 pm

        This shows a complete lack of understanding of how language actually works. In fact, if you study linguistics, you will learn that all language is created by its “popularity.” All language is created when a group of people begin to use a specific word or phrase. Since language is arbitrary, if enough people use a specific word, then that word becomes the norm. In fact, most words work that way. Thus, if more people begin to use “with regards to,” then it will become the norm. Speakers are intelligent creatures and they choose the best way to communicate. Also, dictionaries are not prescriptive but rather descriptive in my opinion. They are a document to record the way language evolves not to set rules that everyone must follow. Let us dispel the notion that language is pure. English is an amalgam of many languages and influences. A course in basic semiology would help us a great deal.

        Reply
        • Marcin -  October 21, 2016 - 1:10 pm

          Wow. I could not have said it better, sir!

          Reply
        • Curt -  November 2, 2016 - 8:29 am

          Note, for example, that the American Heritage Dictionary has usage notes for words that warrant explanations of their proper use. Some of those usage notes refer to trends in use of the words or the opinions of a majority of their usage board.

          Reply
        • Shiv -  November 29, 2016 - 3:54 pm

          Well explained. Language is after all man made

          Reply
        • Joe -  December 11, 2016 - 8:21 pm

          Nicely said, sir!

          Reply
      • Roberto Vazquez -  November 3, 2016 - 8:17 pm

        Laying aside a lot of words that are not the point in your comment, I ask you: why do you think that current English is notably different from that of the fifth century? You don’t understand the mechanisms that make a language evolve. Logic has no place in this process. Language is a living entity, nourished by popular opinion, the same that you despise and compare absurdly to issues that are irrelevant to this analysis.

        Reply
        • Jeffery Bennett -  November 26, 2016 - 9:08 am

          Tom has an excellent understanding of how language works. If your
          point were correct, it would be logically impossible for the majority of
          speakers to misuse a word; and this certainly is not logically impossible.
          It’s implicit in the claim that a word or statement has been used incorrectly
          that there is some objective standard for determining this. Tom’s point is
          simply that majority opinion (often fallible) cannot be such a standard.

          Reply
          • Elizabeth -  December 2, 2016 - 9:44 am

            The point isn’t that you can just say a word and it’s right, the point is that if the MAJORITY say a word or use a particular phrase then it is correct. Language changes constantly, and it is supposed to. If a single person says a word and no one understands the word then it is wrong, if a group says and understands the use of a word and an individual doesn’t understand, then the use is correct. Language is subjective, both to the audience and the speaker, as long as the majority understand and can communicate then there is no issue. It is unfair to make the assumption that language is rigid and unchangable, just think of the common language 15 years ago and compare to the present, their are noticable changes in language and use even in such a short time. Dictionaries and grammar rule books are not meant to lock you into a set of rules, but rather document how others use English as a language.

      • Margaret -  November 21, 2016 - 4:59 am

        I use regarding. It is simple and correct

        Reply
    • Victoria -  November 23, 2016 - 9:11 pm

      Yes, that’s the simplest & most elementary meaning that best describes the words. Perfect!

      Reply
  9. JOHNNYX45 -  February 17, 2016 - 10:08 am

    I Tell You Guys, It’s Just The Easiest Diffentiating Between Them. THAT’S All I’ve Got. I’m A Nigerian

    Reply
  10. Sola -  January 24, 2016 - 9:46 pm

    The grammatical relationship between the two is that we use ‘s’ if it is ‘as regards’ and no ‘s’ in ‘with regard’.

    Reply
  11. Keys Abraham -  January 8, 2016 - 12:04 am

    Along those lines, if ” … is used nearly twice as often as…” were to validate usage, I shudder to think that “there” (in place of “they’re” and “their”) and “your” (instead of “you’re”) may one day be accepted as standard English.

    Reply
    • Mara -  August 1, 2016 - 9:29 pm

      Que horror, but point taken. It is possible. There are many people using those that you’ve mentioned, and many more, incorrectly. Even worse, those correct usages might go archaic and the wrong ones. . .Acceptable. Reason? (Many people are using it more than the correct ones.)

      If that day comes…

      Reply
  12. Anne Lasowski -  January 3, 2016 - 8:57 am

    With regard to the explanation of using “regards” vs “regard”, I take issue with excusing the incorrect usage of “regards” due to the increased usage of “regards.” If all the lemmings are jumping off the cliff due to ignorance, would you jump? I am constantly hearing “I seen” or “He don’t” but that doesn’t make the increased usage correct. It just means our educational system is continuing to spiral downward.

    Reply
    • Holly Wallace -  January 4, 2016 - 1:01 pm

      In regard to Anne’s comment, I totally agree.

      Reply
    • Melisa -  January 12, 2016 - 10:46 am

      Baute

      Reply
      • Melisa -  January 12, 2016 - 10:47 am

        Bravo!

        Reply
    • Alaskana -  January 25, 2016 - 3:53 am

      I wholeheartedly concur Anne: Just because something is done (or uttered) does not mean it ought to be done. I learned in grade school that one either uses ‘in regard to’ , ‘ as regards’, or ‘regarding’. Making blatant exceptions as time goes by is part of the problem and contributes to the difficulty of learning proper English.

      Reply
    • Alicia -  February 8, 2016 - 11:41 am

      Thank you!!! Finally someone who is willing to stand behind the correct grammar usage

      Reply
    • Dhruba Ghosh -  March 11, 2016 - 12:00 pm

      I deeply appreciate your outlook in this regard.

      Reply
    • Tony Laurent -  March 19, 2016 - 10:01 pm

      Thank you Anne !

      Reply
    • Darrow -  November 19, 2016 - 1:15 pm

      The way that you know it is wrong, is if you hear it coming from Mitt Romney “In regards to my meeting with Trump”, then you know it is incorrect.. Or if you hear it coming from Bush “Nucular bombs are everywhere”., then you know that is wrong too.

      Reply
  13. Shae -  November 18, 2014 - 9:51 am

    I share a key viewpoint already expressed in the commentary: regard is basically interchangeable, in this setting, with reference. However, I am lead to a different opinion by it.
    I have always struggled with the idea that language should be so vulnerable to those who disrespect and abuse it (not meant to imply that anyone who alters it in any way is guilty of this). I have a deep love and respect for language and, as such, desire that it should thrive and improve. I suppose I just wish that widespread usage didn’t hold quite as much weight as it does.
    More to the point, however, to me it’s as simple (or complex, rather) as questioning whether or not you have one or more references to whatever is under scrutiny. I would question the credibility of the speaker who said, “I have eight dollar,” just as much as the one who said, “I have one dollars.” (Please understand I believe ESL speakers and/or anyone whose primary language is not English should be excluded from this example.) If you have plural references, then you have plural regards. If you have a singular reference, then you have a singular regard. So, I would say “with regards to things” would be the accurate phrasing here. I’m sure my high school debate experience plays no small part in my opinion.
    I will caveat my belief with the fact that I do find the “most correct” expression, to me, would be “with/in regard to” were I only allowed to choose one. Yet, since when has the English language not striven to be dynamic and utilize obviations such as the one I have included to improve itself?

    Reply
    • T. Price -  May 1, 2015 - 7:07 am

      “Be not the first to adopt the new, nor the last to cast the old aside.”[paraphrase] –Havilah Babcock. However, ignorance of what should still be the correct way is not really “adopting.”

      Reply
    • Jay S. -  July 8, 2015 - 8:48 am

      I would like to politely disagree. A better substitute for “regard” in these contexts is “consideration.” For example, 1) with consideration to things that aren’t necessarily obvious, or 2) in consideration to [or of] things that aren’t necessarily obvious. You would never say, 1) with considerations to things . . ., or 2) in considerations of things . . .

      When you consider something, you might similarly regard that thing. You would never considers something, and you would never regards something.

      I could go on about this topic all day, but I guess that is enough for now.

      Reply
      • Helena -  August 25, 2015 - 4:31 am

        I would say this – with regards to is something you address to someone where there has been a bereavement.
        With regard to means that you are focusing on a point of interest.

        Reply
      • Victor -  October 23, 2016 - 3:27 am

        Agreed!

        Reply
    • Gen Belcher -  July 27, 2015 - 5:58 am

      Completely agree. Well said! :)

      Reply
      • Judi Moraw -  August 13, 2015 - 11:20 am

        I agree 100%.

        Reply
    • Tom -  November 4, 2015 - 2:30 pm

      “Caveat” is now a verb? You just undermined your entire post.

      Reply
      • Lucie -  December 31, 2015 - 1:41 am

        They undermined it at the beginning by spelling lead’ instead of ‘led’.

        Reply
    • Toufic -  November 23, 2015 - 2:08 am

      Hello Shae,

      I completely agree with you that language should not be susceptible to changes induced by informal widespread usage. Concerning your point about “regard vs regards”, I believe that one holds a single regard irrespective of the number of underlying elements that he is referring to.

      Reply
  14. larkin -  November 17, 2014 - 12:43 pm

    me

    Reply
  15. larkin -  November 17, 2014 - 12:31 pm

    123 to date

    Reply
  16. Peter Prange -  November 14, 2014 - 9:16 pm

    Teaching people to think is the key – example – the note from Stacey L. Douglas – November 13, 2014 – 12:31 pm – substitute the word reference and it becomes clear.

    Perhaps a listing of such keys would be good. Another example is the use of singular or plural pronouns.

    Reply
  17. Larry -  November 13, 2014 - 2:33 pm

    The rise in use of the wrong variants is in direct proportion to the rise in general ignorance of our younger people due to social media and serious deterioration in education. Recently I saw a survey of college students who were asked a series of general knowledge questions. Over 60% couldn’t answer who won the Civil War; while over 55% couldn’t answer from which country did the USA gain its independence. Well over 79% correctly identified the television show Snooki appeared on; while over 85% could tell us who is Angelina Jolie’s husband.

    My point is you can tout current usage all you would like; it doesn’t mean it is correct. In fact, a very logical argument could be made for the exact opposite view.

    Reply
    • i mean really wow -  November 14, 2014 - 4:11 pm

      only 79% of college students correctly identified Jersey Shore? i am not impressed

      Reply
      • agree -  July 2, 2015 - 3:44 pm

        my point its that both way to write the word & even tell the word its correct

        Reply
    • Jon -  November 15, 2014 - 1:25 pm

      “My point is you can tout current usage all you would like; it doesn’t mean it is correct.”

      Except that language is all and only what is actually used by native speakers. Language is not some social construct of which speakers have partial knowledge. Why this extremely uneducated view that isn’t in alignment with modern language science persists, I have no clue.

      “In fact, a very logical argument could be made for the exact opposite view.”

      I very much doubt it.

      Those things you cite have absolutely nothing to do with language change over time. Furthermore, what logical argument could you possibly make to support the absurd view that language is not what is used by native speakers? Do you think that language is some abstract object that is written in grammar manuals in the polished halls of language institutions?

      Do you think that before literacy was invented that nobody spoke a real language? Or that past languages are inferior to modern ones? Or worse yet, that modern languages are inferior to past ones?

      Seriously, please read even an introductory text on linguistics and language change. This kind of snobbish attitude is nothing but prejudice.

      Reply
      • Godfrey Silas -  April 6, 2015 - 3:22 pm

        It breaks my heart when TV journalists and intellectual pundits do not know the difference either. There are other fumbles like interchangeably using each other and one another; among and between; for Sue and I; me and her are dating. There is also not knowing the difference between me to and me too; going too the movie. Finally, the use of apostrophe before the letter S as in my boy’s or nice shoe’s. WOW. These other blunders obviously make the “regards” blunder so very mild in comparison. It is pertinent to note that elementary school kids in Africa, for whom the English language is a 3rd language, are laughing at American adults.

        Reply
  18. Stacey L. Douglas -  November 13, 2014 - 12:31 pm

    Substitute the word “reference” for “regard” and it might become clearer why “regards” doesn’t fit or work well and has been considered nonstandard usage. One might start a new trend, though, by saying “In references to . . .”

    Reply
  19. Brett -  November 13, 2014 - 11:06 am

    Finally. I’ve argued this point for a long time. It pleases me that the phrase has surfaced for discussion at Dictionary.com.

    With regard to the current policy or policies.

    To what is this in regard?

    Send him a card with my regards.

    With my regards to David, send him a silver platter engraved with his name.

    Reply
    • Melinda McCracken -  November 16, 2014 - 6:42 pm

      Yes! You are absolutely correct! “Regards” has traditionally been used to express “best wishes”. “With regards to current policies” pretty clearly demonstrates how silly the other usage sounds. In our present cultural climate, current usage is not brought about by thoughtful revision. It is just an excuse for the lazy “dumming down” of our language. I vote for sticking with tradition when it comes to English usage.

      Reply
      • "dumbing" - I prefer "in regards to" or "regarding." Maybe that's a regional thing like "in line" or "on line." Regarding sending regards, that's a whole differnt ballgame; don't think it has anything to do with THIS disussion. Like affect and effect or " -  November 24, 2014 - 12:30 am

        “dumbing” – I prefer “in regards to” or “regarding.” Maybe that’s a regional thing like “in line” or “on line.” Regarding sending regards, that’s a whole different ballgame; don’t think it has anything to do with THIS discussion. Like “yours truly” and the truth.

        Reply
      • Meghan Victoria -  December 9, 2014 - 5:52 am

        Language is known to shift with modern culture regardless of how the most elite thinkers feel. I am personally of the opinion there is great importance in the history of each language, each phrase, every word, and the grammar tucked nicely in it’s place. This being stated, without the evolution of language, where might we be now had we rejected all forms unfamiliar to us?

        Reply
    • Ian Digby -  August 11, 2015 - 5:28 am

      This argument that ‘language is a living thing’, whilst perfectly true, should not be used to justtify errors in usage. ‘With regards to’ is obviously a mistaken synthesis of the prhase ‘with regard to’ and the word ‘regards’ which has a different meaning but, because it is more commonly used, is lazily substituted.

      By analogy, mistaken practices in any other field, once proven wrong, shouldn’t be continued on the basis of their popularity, just because lots of people use them and can’t be bothered to get it right.

      Reply
  20. WhatWhatintheWhat -  November 12, 2014 - 12:44 pm

    I said what what. What what what what what what what whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat. In my what.

    Reply
    • What -  November 15, 2014 - 10:58 am

      You wanna do in the what?

      Reply
      • ok -  November 15, 2014 - 10:59 am

        In my what?

        Reply
        • uh -  July 29, 2015 - 1:26 am

          whut?

          Reply
  21. Wutwutinthewut -  November 12, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    —————————————
    ______________________
    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
    —————————————
    ▬▬▐▐▐▐▐▬▬▬▬▐▐▐▬

    Reply
  22. Chris -  November 11, 2014 - 6:42 pm

    According to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/regard?s=t meaning of “regards” are sentiments of esteem or affection while “regard” is reference or relation.

    Now my comment on the quoted part of the article–

    “Speakers tend to use [obviously]…to emphasize their point with regards to things that aren’t necessarily obvious…”

    I would say the word “regards” was incorrectly used.

    Reply
  23. seidu basiru -  November 11, 2014 - 5:52 am

    decode

    Reply
  24. Brian Keith Martin -  November 10, 2014 - 6:11 am

    Simply because something has become more popular, does not negate the fact it is incorrect. That logic is the whole reason the English language has become so bastardized.

    Reply
    • oimi -  November 12, 2014 - 9:13 pm

      scrupulously :)

      Reply
  25. Sarita Pandey -  November 9, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    “w/r/t” does not stand for “with regard/s to”, it is short for “with respect to”.

    Reply
    • Yehuda Poch -  November 16, 2014 - 12:47 am

      Which basically means the same thing.

      Reply
  26. Eileen Stokes -  November 8, 2014 - 10:55 am

    I have always used the words “regard” and “regards” in the way Anna has above. To me they were two separate words with separate meanings. “Give my regards to Mary” means to pass on a greeting. “In regard to yesterday’s discussion” means to refer to.

    If I heard (or read) the word “regards” as used in your example, I would have had exactly the same reaction as the readers who initially commented. If someone said it to me, I would think they had confused the two words. I believe the recent increase in the use of “regards” (can’t say I have noticed it) is exactly that, folks who never learned the difference using them as one and they just happened upon a variant and therefore acceptable meaning.

    Reply
  27. Rohit kumar -  November 7, 2014 - 11:49 pm

    i laike you

    Reply
  28. Rohit kumar -  November 7, 2014 - 11:48 pm

    i lake you

    Reply
  29. Sgamsuden -  November 6, 2014 - 1:50 pm

    Do not be lazy

    Reply
  30. Anna -  November 6, 2014 - 5:18 am

    “With Regards to” is perfectly acceptable for sending greetings. “Please convey this letter with regards to my cousin.” (even then, we tend to say “my regards” or “kindest regards.”)

    “With Regard to” – without the s – is the way to reference some other fact. If I heard “with regards to” when discussing facts, in a formal setting, it would lower my estimate of the speaker’s educational level.

    It seems to me that the two have become intermingled because one does “send one’s regards” to another.

    Reply
  31. Douglas LeBlanc -  November 6, 2014 - 1:49 am

    The variants I prefer stress simplicity: regarding or about.

    Reply
    • Graham -  November 10, 2014 - 1:43 pm

      I’m inclined to agree with you – it makes more sense and is far simpler.

      Reply
    • Gary McMahon -  November 12, 2014 - 9:26 am

      I sometimes use the synonym “concerning”, too.

      Reply
  32. Ashley -  November 5, 2014 - 5:31 pm

    I actually had this same question just a week or so ago. My research made the excellent point that both are rather superfluous jargon and that we really should simply use the term “regarding.” To use your example, “…to emphasize their point [regarding] things that aren’t necessarily obvious.”

    I had to admit that it does look cleaner.

    Reply

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