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Regarding This Regard—The More Meanings, the More Synonyms

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“In regard to” and “with regard to”, or “in regards to” and “with regards to”? We explain this conundrum and give some tips on using “regard”.

"Regard" can be a noun, a verb, a conjunction, or part of a whole phrase.
Let’s regard a good example of an ambiguous word.

Due to several linguistic changes in English, there are some words with many meanings. Regard, for instance, is not only a noun with two distinct meanings, but also a verb with two meanings as well. This ambiguity becomes even more perplexing when you use it in its gerund form (regarding), or as a part of a whole phrase. We show you all various usages of the word regard.

“Regard” on Its Own

The word regard entered the English language in the 15th Century. Coming from the French verb “regarder”—which means to look, or to take notice of—it was established simultaneously as a verb and as a noun. Furthermore, it is derived from guard meaning care, custody, or watching.

In Modern English, the noun regard can either mean respect or appreciation. Two examples are:

The politician has no regard for other people’s feelings.
I hold her memory in high regard.

Or, you can find it as a sign-off for informal or semiformal letters.

With best regards (semiformal)
Kindest regards, warmest regards (semiformal)
Best regards, Kind regards, Regards (informal)

Regards (always in plural form) can mean greetings, too:

Please give your dad my regards.

The verb to regard also has two meanings.

1) To look carefully and attentively. This roots back to its original meaning of to observe or to look upon, and is considered formal language.

The whole company regarded the new colleague.

2) The verb has received a more common definition, namely to consider an opinion on something or somebody.

Charles Darwin is widely regarded as the father of evolution.

“Regarding” as a Transition Word

The verb to regard, however, finds another use as a sentence connective. In its gerund form, you may employ it instead of the prepositions about or on.

Compare:

  • About the new contract, I am asking you to consider additional proposals.

  • Regarding the new contract, I am asking you to consider additional proposals.

  • On the topic of feminism, she has written many successful books and is a well-renowned author.
    Regarding the topic of feminism, she has written many successful books and is a well-renowned author.

Please note that concerning can be used alternatively in these contexts.

In formal writing, you’ll also spot the infrequently used phrase as regards. It shares the same meaning as regarding.

As regards the conflict, she still believes in resolving it pacifically.

“In regard to” & “With regard to”

The biggest challenge is using regard in a whole phrase. Back in the day, you could say at regards to, which is not correct anymore. But, you might come across this construction in older literature.

Nowadays, you can choose between two commonly used constructions: in regard to and with regard to. These phrases serve as replacements for regarding (see section above):

We can’t accept your behavior with regard to your lack of productivity.

In regard to your questionable alibi, you’re still a suspect in the case.

There appears to be a trend where the singular form of regard is getting ousted by its plural form regards. Technically, the following sentences are incorrect, but in the future they may receive more acceptance:

We can’t accept your behavior with regards to your lack of productivity.
In regards to your questionable alibi, you’re still a suspect in the case.
Tip:

We suggest that you still stick to the singular form: in regard to and with regard to.


Synonyms of “Regard”

As you can see, regard is a multifarious and powerful word. In order to avoid repeating it in your writing, here are some helpful synonyms according to the various functions and meanings of regard:

Form of regard Synonyms
Regard as a noun (first meaning) respect, appreciation, admiration, consideration, esteem
Regards as a noun (sign-off) greetings, all the best, respectfully, kindly, best wishes, warmly, take care
(to) Regard as a verb (literal meaning) to look upon, to gaze, to observe, to reckon, to behold, to contemplate, to heed
(to) Regard as a verb (metaphoric meaning) to consider, to take into account, to note, to mind, to attend, to respect, to mark
Regarding (or as regards) or
In regard to / with regard to
in connection with, in relation to, concerning, on, about

But don’t worry, you don’t have to remember all these synonyms by heart. LanguageTool and its practical thesaurus feature gives you appropriate synonyms. Moreover, it checks your writing for spelling and grammar mistakes. Style suggestions like preferring with regard to (or in regard to) over with regards to (or in regards to) are integrated as well. Regarding a highly-regarded and intelligent writing assistant, LanguageTool is always the best choice.

Best regards, your LT team!


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