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The best regards

Q: Why do so many people say “in regards to” when they mean “with regard to?” Isn’t that incorrect?

A: There’s no reason to use the plural “regards” in this case.

The expression is either “in regard to” or “with regard to.” And better yet might be just “regarding.”

A usage note in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) says “regard” is traditionally singular in the phrase “in regard to.”

But the dictionary adds that it’s acceptable to use the plural in the phrase “as regards” when the meaning is “with reference to.”

We borrowed the noun “regard,” meaning a look or gaze or manner, from the Old French in the 14th century.

The word was soon being used in prepositional phrases.” Chaucer, for instance, used one of the early versions, “at regard of,” in 1381.

The OED’s first published reference for “in regard to” is in a 1677 sermon: “What hath occurred … to my meditation, I must at present, in regard to your patience, omit.”

The first citation for “with regard to” comes from a 1713 book by the Irish philosopher George Berkeley: “I speak with regard to sensible things only.”

Now that makes sense. Regards (couldn’t resist).

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