The Language Perfectionist: Give My Regards

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.]