This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

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06 May 2013

Regarding 'regards'

I hate the word 'regards'.

'I'm ringing you regards your claim...'
 'Re: your concerns about our re-widgeting service'
 'Regarding our conversation yesterday...'

Whatever’s coming next, I think, it won’t be good news. The tone sets my teeth on edge. It just sounds like a word you'd use in an earlier age, perhaps the 1930s, when it might have sounded both suave and deferential.

The time for ‘regards’ has gone, I think. To me, it sounds like the rote mutterings of a bureaucratic zombie. Something said by someone who feels defensive, perhaps powerless, and wants to hide behind words to and stick to the script, no matter (regardless) of what they’re really thinking.

Write as you'd really talk
Who says 'regards' when they're having a brew (hot or cold...) with a friend? Or talking with their 10-year-old child?

If we want our writing to connect with our readers, we need to use the direct words we’d use when we’re talking. Really talking. So why not just say 'about'? ‘Even though’?

Okay, I've got that off my chest. Thank you for reading. So what's your least favourite word?

Oh, one more thing. A colleague of mine in London once said ‘irregardless’. Gentle reader, I simply gaped.

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