Can you spot any mistakes in these quotations, all found via online search?

  • “How significant are directory listings in regards to SEO?”
  • “I think we are not that much more evolved than ‘primitive’ man in regards to language use concerning spiritual belief.”
  • “What Couples Need to Know With Regards to a Contested Divorce”

In The Accidents of Style, Charles Harrington Elster writes that in regards to and with regards to are both incorrect. “The proper forms are in regard to and with regard to.”

But even the correct phrases should be avoided, advises Elster:

“Why would any self-respecting writer want to use these wordy and stiff constructions?… Your prose will be much smoother and cleaner and free of ostentation if you use regarding, concerning, about, or simply begin with your subject….”

[Ed Note: For more than three decades, Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant. He is author of The Versatile Freelancer, an e-book that shows writers and other creative professionals how to diversify their careers into speaking, consulting, training, and critiquing.]

Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant for more than 30 years.
He may be best known for his headline “Speak Spanish [French, German, etc.] Like a Diplomat!” This familiar series of ads sold spectacular numbers of recorded foreign language lessons for Audio-Forum, generating revenues that total in the tens of millions of dollars. In the process, the ad achieved the status of an industry classic.
Don’s work is mentioned in three major college advertising textbooks, and examples of his promotions are cited in the books Million Dollar Mailings (1992) and World’s Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters (1996). In a column in Advertising Age, his name was included in a short list of direct-marketing “superstars.”
He has a parallel career as a writer on language and wordplay. His celebration of spoonerisms, Cruel and Unusual Puns (Dell, 1991), received rave reviews and quickly went into a second printing. His second book was Acronymania (Dell, 1993).
Recently, Don retired from full-time copywriting in order to focus on other interests, including his passion for “recreational linguistics.” He is at work on a new book in that genre. He is a regular contributor to the magazine Word Ways and writes “The Language Perfectionist,” a weekly column on grammar and usage, for Early to Rise.
Don is author of The Versatile Freelancer,an e-book from American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI) that shows copywriters – and almost anyone – how to diversify their careers into consulting, training, critiquing, and speaking.