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Grammar Rant: Words That Aren’t

Grammar Rant: Words That Aren’t published on 5 Comments on Grammar Rant: Words That Aren’t

I realized recently that it’s been a while since I’ve written a Grammar Rant. I have dropped the ball. Time to pick it up and run like a 10-year-old who’s just shot a BB pellet into a hornets’ nest!

This time, I’m poking my pointy Grammar Stick at a couple of words that people use all the time without even realizing that these words do not, in fact, exist.  Well, they do in the sense that people keep using them. Incorrectly!  And that makes me just a wee bit crabby.

The first offender is the word “irregardless,” as in, “Irregardless of the consequences, I’m going to use poor English on this job interview!”

“Irregardless” is not a word.  The correct word is “regardless,” as in, “Regardless of what that idiot says, I’m getting this job because I can speak English correctly.”

Don’t believe me?  Look it up!

Here’s another pseudo-word that chafes my giblets:  “Disrespect” used as a verb.  For example:  “Don’t disrespect me!”  Wrong!

“Disrespect” is a noun (person, place or thing), not a verb (action).

You cannot <person/place/thing> someone, and I dare you to try!

Let’s correct that abomination of a sentence before my head explodes.  The nice thing about English (but also confusing for English learners) is that we have a variety of ways of expressing the same thing.  Here are some, but not all, permutations.  Take your pick:

Option #1 – “Disrespect” used as a noun:
“Don’t show me (any) disrespect!”  (For the Grammar Curious, as well as all you Grammar Geeks out there, the indefinite article “any” is in parentheses because it is optional.  You can leave it out if you wish.  Isn’t that nice?  Lovely.)

Moving on…

Option #2 – “Disrespect” used as an adjective:
“Don’t be disrespectful to me!”

Option #3 – “Disrespect used as an adverb:
“Don’t treat me disrespectfully!”

Option #4: – Toss out the word “disrespect,” entirely, and opt for the more blunt approach for those who need it:
“Quit being such a(n) <insert word of choice here>!”

Remember:  Language can be a complicated thing, but it’s your best friend when it comes to effective communication.  It is an art; the more you learn and practice using it correctly, the better impression you make on those around you.  And who doesn’t want to make a good impression?

Okay, there are always going to be people out there who don’t care, and I would like to take this opportunity to establish that they have no genetic link to me, whatsoever.

The Grammar Goddess has spoken.


Excellent question! “I could care less” means just that: You could be more indifferent – and you’re close – but you’re not there, yet, because you still care just a little.

“I couldn’t care less,” however, says your Care Account is tapped out and you are broke. You don’t care. At all. I think that by the time you have to resort to using that expression, saying “I couldn’t care less” is the way to go.

It entirely depends upon the context. Even art has rules. For example, there are rules of perspective that you must obey when you want to make a 3-dimensional drawing on a piece of 2-dimensional paper if you want your drawing to look proportional.

If you’re having a casual conversation, then breaking the rules of language doesn’t matter so much as long as you’re communicating effectively. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If, on the other hand, you’re competing against others for a really good-paying job, then knowing and applying the rules of language appropriately becomes a whole lot more important.

Context here, as with so many other things in life, is everything.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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