Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regardless of whether.

regardless of whether. This is the idiomatic phrasing, not “regardless whether”* — e.g.: o “When he wanted to send troops to help end the civil war a year ago, President Clinton told a skeptical public and Congress that they would be withdrawn in December 1996 regardless whether [read ‘regardless of whether’] peace had been achieved.” “Bosnia Mission Is Not Justified,” Fla. Times-Union, 21 Nov. 1996, at A10. o “One proposal . . . would require the companies to pay $6 billion a year, indefinitely, to compensate tobacco farmers — regardless whether or not [read ‘regardless of whether’] their crop is needed.” “The Farmers’ Cut,” Courier-J. (Louisville), 22 June 1997, at D2. Language-Change Index — “regardless whether”* for “regardless of whether”: Stage 2. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————- Quotation of the Day: “It is true that there are rules of grammar and syntax, just as in music there are rules of harmony and counterpoint. But one can no more write good English than one can compose good music, merely by keeping the rules. On the whole they are aids to writing intelligibly, for they are in the main no more than the distillation of successful experiments made by writers of English through the centuries in how best to handle words so as to make a writer’s meaning plain.” Sir Ernest Gowers, The Complete Plain Words 11 (1954; repr. 1964).

4 thoughts on “Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: regardless of whether.”

  1. Bryan, I’ve long looked to your writing guidance as The Word, so I must respond to your 01/02/12 blog entry on “regardless of whether.” Ouch, that just sounds so awful! NYU Law was pretty open-minded, but it was drilled into us that proper usage excludes any “of” in the phrases “regardless whether,” “the question is whether” or “the question whether.” In your writing seminar in the 90’s, the most valuable exercise was editing text to eliminate as many “ofs” as possible. True gold! Now you say it’s a Stage 2 mistake and advocate using that unnecessary, ugly-sounding ‘uv’ here — where it makes the speaker/writer sound illiterate and pompous?

  2. John Partridge

    Diana- Placing a proposition between “regardless” and “whether” appears pompous in your eyes, yet namedropping your Alma Mater law school, on the other hand, is what, humble? I don’t even understand how your legal education is relevant here, as many legal scholars, attorneys, and the like are poor writers. Read the average judge’s opinion and tell me that it’s not laden with run-on sentences and barely intelligible legalese.

  3. John Partridge

    And my comment would probably hold more credibility had I not written “proposition” instead of “preposition.” lol

  4. Isn’t “whether or not” a better substitute for “regardless of whether”? Fewer syllables, less ponderous.

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