August 22, 2008

It’s Irregardless Anyways

With so many words in the English language, it can sometimes be difficult to know if any particular word is a real word or not. According to, the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words in current use and 47,156 obsolete words. That’s a lot of words. But there are some words that people say or write on a regular basis that aren’t really words at all. Some examples include:

Irregardless: This just doesn’t even make sense because it is a double negative. “Regardless” means to have no regard- which is what most people think they are saying when they use the word “irregardless.” It was most likely formed from someone trying to combine “irrespective” or “irrelevant” with “regardless.”

Anyways: Although used in some English dialects, this is not standard. The word is “anyway.”

Passerbys: One person passing by is a passerby. Multiple people passing by are passersby.

Alterior: The word you are looking for here is “ulterior,” which is heard most often in the phrase “ulterior motive.” Ulterior means something outside or beyond what is openly said or shown. I think “alterior” must have been confused with the word “alternative” which means other option.

Ya’ll: Let’s think back to first grade grammar here. This word is a contraction of “you” and “all” so it should be “y’all.”

What other misspelled/misused words can you think of?

By: Jessica McGrail


  1. Maghan   August 22, 2008 12:01 pm / Reply

    Another good one is “supposably” instead of “supposedly”

    As for misuse— Phelps was guilty of this last week, when he kept saying “At a loss of words” instead of “at a loss for words”. Also a favorite of mine is when people say “for all intensive purposes” instead of “for all intents and purposes”

  2. Paula Weigel   August 25, 2008 10:50 am / Reply

    The “Its” and “It’s” confusion is one of my pet peeves.

    Here’s a good site on commonly misused words (the one on eminent was especially enlightening) :

    And Maghan – did you really go there with Phelps? :)

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