Say What You Mean!
"Irregardless" means regardless, so why do some say "irregardless?" In fact, most dictionaries state that "irregardless" is nonstardard or incorrect use, yet I hear so many colleagues use the phrase.
So what, you say? Why does it matter?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter to most people, but it always makes me pause to contemplate the speaker’s intent when I hear the word. So even though I eventually figure it out, it causes me to shift my focus from what the speaker is saying. So yes, to me (and others) it matters.
Just because something is used so often doesn’t make it OK to use.
For example, the phrase “I could care less” is frequently used (more than "irregardless" in my experience) when the person really means “I couldn’t care less.” If you could care less, you care! If you couldn’t care less, you don’t care. Again, people understand your intent when you say this, but at least for people like me, it makes me pause to think about why you would say you could care less?
Most people stopped reading this after the first paragraph thinking I’m a grammar freak or perfectionist. Nope, I’m not. In fact, I still struggle with "fleshing out" versus "flushing out," and must pause to make sure I am using it properly before speaking.
"Affect" versus "effect" also stumps me from time to time, but mostly when writing. Yet, some things are especially obvious, like "irregardless" or “could care less,” and could impact how people receive your message.
These particular phrases are just small examples of how your words can distract your customers or prospects from getting the message you really intend for them. If your customer is a logical thinker, these types of phrases will trip him or her up when processing what you say. Using loose grammar could cause your customer to think differently of you.
I used to pronounce “especially” as “expecially.” I have no idea why. Thankfully, a colleague (Dan O’Halloran) at the time mentioned it to me. He said every time I spoke the word it made me seem less smart. I had never realized I said it the way I did, and I am thankful a colleague pointed it out. I immediately made the change, and now I don’t understand why I ever added the "x." Then again, as a child I pronounced “hamburger” as “hangburger” and “pancake” as “panacake,” so I clearly started early. Imagine if I was at breakfast with you and ordered “panacakes.” It would be awkward to say the least.
No one is perfect, but there are some easy wins. I brought up two of the misused terms that I hear most frequently in hopes that I too can help someone like Dan O’Halloran helped me.
Most of you couldn’t care less about this particular topic, regardless I wrote it anyhow.
Tonight, I think I’ll go grab a hangburger.
P.S. My spell checker is very upset with me over this blog. So many red lines!