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Is It Correct to Say “In Regards To”?

You sometimes need to prod your listener’s or reader’s attention toward a topic. The English language has different transitions that smoothly change the subject, but the trick is holding to correct grammar during the transition. “In regards to” is one of these transitions, so we must ask: is it correct to use this phrase?

It is correct to say “in regards to” in American English, although “in regard to” is technically the correct spelling. Through prepositions, “in” and “to,” this phrase brings a topic to the forefront of a discussion. In a team meeting, a boss may say to a member, “In regards to your project, expect to finish by Friday.”

You’re more likely to see “in regards to,” so we’ll focus on that spelling in this article. In regards to the rest of this article, we’ll break down the meaning and uses of the phrase along with the different types of prepositions.

What Does “In Regards To” Mean?

“In regards to” gently tells the listener to turn their attention toward something. “Regard” means “to pay attention to” (source). The prepositions “in” and “to” give the action, “regards,” direction. We can move a conversation to the next point when we put them together.

“Regards” ends with an “s,” but it’s not a plural “regard” because we don’t use the term as a noun. Instead, it’s an active verb, such as “plays” or “watches.”

“In” designates the “regards” as the purpose of the topic which is to come. It functions as a preposition of location here by indicating the statement is “within” the “regards.”

This doesn’t mean the statement is literally inside the “regards” but spreads the “regards” over the rest of the statement and tells you its purpose. Broken down in this way, “in regards” means “for the purpose of giving attention.”

“To” gives the prior action, “regards,” direction toward the statement which immediately follows “in regards to.” For example, in the prepositional phrase, “In regards to the meeting today,” we know “the meeting today” is the topic which will next receive attention because “to” points “in regards” to “the meeting today.”

How Do You Use “In Regards To”?

“In regards to” always comes before the idea you want to bring attention to. Depending on its use, it begins a sentence or appears after identifying information. Whichever way, “in regards to” must precede the topic you want to point out. Without this phrase, the rest of the sentence is lost in confusion.

In regards to the meeting today” only makes sense because of the use of “in regards to.” If you only say “the meeting today,” the other discussion participants will be confused about what you mean.

What about “the meeting today”? This fragment needs “in regards to” so that your listeners know your intention in bringing up “the meeting today.” Otherwise, the sentence loses its meaning and structure.

Furthermore, “In regards to the meeting today” isn’t a complete idea on its own. Your listeners know that the discussion will now concern “the meeting today,” but you must give more details.

“In regards to” in action looks something like this:

  • In regards to the meeting today, what are the highlights we need to touch on first?

Here we see “in regards to” guiding everyone’s attention to “the meeting today,” but more specifically, the most important “highlights” to cover.

When you correctly place “in regards to” in the middle of a sentence, it still plays a crucial role in giving the sentence meaning.

  • Katy said, “That’s correct,” in regards to Eric’s question about the house.

This becomes an incomplete thought without “in regards to.” This phrase, or a grammatically correct equivalent, is necessary to portray the full concept behind the statement.

When Can You Use “In Regards To”?

Use “in regards to” to bring up the next point for discussion or to clarify someone else’s words. For example, you can begin a sentence with “in regards to” when specifying the next topic of discussion or put it imid-sentence when explaining a statement from another speaker.

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Let’s use one of the previous examples to see “in regards to” bring up the next discussion point:

  • In regards to the meeting today, what are the highlights we need to touch on first?

Notice how we framed this example as a question. When a speaker does this, he or she is subtly opening the room to further discussion.

The dynamic changes when making a statement rather than posing a question.

  • In regards to the meeting today, we need to highlight last month’s sales objectives.

The speaker moves the discussion along but determines the next topic. The discussion remains open; however, the statement directs what needs attention next.

“In regards to” appears mid-sentence when you use it to clarify a statement from someone else. Let’s go back to another example to help explain how this works:

  • Katy said, “That’s correct,” in regards to Eric’s question about the house.

In this scenario, “Katy” said, “That’s correct.” For some reason, the purpose of this statement was unclear. Perhaps “Eric” asked more than one question, or someone else was talking at the same time.

Either way, the speaker directed everyone’s attention to the “question about the house” to clarify why “Katy” made the statement, “That’s correct.”

When Not to Use “In Regards To”

Don’t use “in regards to” if you’re trying to use other meanings of “regard.” For example, it’s possible to give someone your “regards” as a greeting and to have “regards” for something when it occupies your thoughts, but the multi-word preposition “in regards to” does not work with these meanings.

The term “regard” is both a noun and a verb, but “in regards to” employs “regards” as a verb. Using “regard” as a noun does not make sense under this condition.

If you give your “regards” to someone, you won’t say, “In regards to you.” Similarly, you can have “regard” for your grades, but you wouldn’t say, “In regards to my grades,” to show this.

Using “In Regards To” In a Full Sentence

“In regards to” is the prepositional phrase “in regards” with the preposition “to” added to create a multi-word preposition that acts as one unit. As such, “in regards to” should never act alone. So, adding a subject and details on the subject makes “in regards to” a complete sentence.

As we saw in previous examples, “in regards to” needs more information to become a full sentence. The following examples are complete sentences using “in regards to.”

  • In regards to the living room, we need to remove this wall to open up the floor plan.
  • I say that in regards to the statement you made yesterday about condos.

What Can You Use Instead of “In Regards To”?

“Regarding” is a more concise and preferred alternative to “in regards to.” However, there are other phrases synonymous with “in regards to,” such as “pertaining to,” “with reference to,” or “in the matter of” (source). “Consideration” can replace “regards” as well, although the prepositions change in this case.

 Here’s a sentence using each of these substitutes:

  • In regards to the sale of the building, we first have to define the property.
  • Regarding the sale of the building, we first have to define the property.
  • Pertaining to the sale of the building, we first have to define the property.
  • With reference to the sale of the building, we first have to define the property.
  • In the matter of the sale of the building, we first have to define the property.
  • In consideration of the sale of the building, we first have to define the property.

Preposition Types

Prepositions are essential in defining different aspects of a sentence. Without them, our sentences lose structure and meaning. Prepositions give sentences direction, define time, place, or location and tell us where something is in relation to other objects. They also present new objects in a sentence (source).

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This is noticeable with “in regards to.” Without “in” or “to,” there is no indication as to the meaning of “regards.”

One of the beautiful characteristics of the English language is its ability to define matters in precise detail, and this is thanks to prepositions. As a result, you don’t have to rely on social cues or cultural norms to understand the language; prepositions fill the gaps so that English is clear to both new and experienced speakers.

Here’s a table of common prepositions and their uses.

Directionto, in, into, on, onto
Timein, at, on, since, for, during
Placein, at, on, inside
Locationin, at, on
Spatial Relationshipsabove, across, below, beside, near, under

Notice that “in,” “at,” and “on” function across multiple types of prepositions. For example, with “in,” you can “go in a building” (direction), do something “in the morning” (time), “be in a house” (place), or “live in a state” (location). These are versatile words with a wide variety of functions.

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Look at our other article, Is It Correct to Say “As Of”? to learn more about prepositions.

Final Thoughts

Prepositions play a vital role in helping English speakers accurately portray their thoughts and ideas. We wouldn’t have phrases like “in regards to” without them, and we would lose many concepts to confusion. Master prepositions, and you’ve made a leap in mastering the English language.