Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regard (2).

regard (2). Today: As a Verb in “highly regarded” and “widely regarded.” The verb “regard” commonly appears in these two combinations. The one phrase, “highly regarded,” is a vague expression of praise; the other, “widely regarded as,” usually leads to words of praise — though it would certainly be possible to say that someone is “widely regarded as beneath contempt.” It’s a mistake, however, to truncate the latter phrase — to say “widely regarded” in place of “highly regarded”: “Crotty has published four novels since leaving the newspaper, and he’s widely regarded [read ‘highly regarded’] by both fiction writers and journalists.” Worse still is the error based on a mishearing of the already-erroneous phrase as *”wildly regarded.” Language-Change Index — “widely regarded” for “highly regarded”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “We have the Parenthesis disease in our literature, too . . . . With us it is the mark and sign of an unpractised writer or a cloudy intellect, whereas with the Germans it is doubtless the mark and sign of a practised pen and of the presence of that sort of luminous intellectual fog which stands for clearness among these people. . . . Parentheses in literature and dentistry are in bad taste.” Mark Twain, “The Awful German Language,” in A Tramp Abroad 604 (1880) (as quoted in Mark Twain: His Words, Wit, and Wisdom 206 (R. Kent Rasmussen ed., 1997)).
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