How Can I use the Word 'regard' correctly?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by andri, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. andri Member

    Someone called me to say'he want to talk to my dad'.
    All I want to do is to ask him 'With regard to?' or 'With Regard to what?', or 'what's is the regard?'
    I am not sure how to use regard to ask a 'what' question.
    Please help.
  2. nmuscatine Senior Member

    English, USA
    "With regard to?" or "With Regard to what?" are both good.
    "What is the regard" does not work.
    You could also say just "Regarding?"
  3. maxiogee Banned

    With is it in regard to?

  4. Sabelotodo Senior Member

    Great Lakes Region, USA
    English, United States
    Be easy on yourself linguistically and ever so polite to the caller...ask, "May I tell him the reason for your call?"
  5. andri Member

    'With Regard to what?' is not that polite.
    I'm worried about being rude.
    Is 'With regard to?' polite?
  6. jdenson

    jdenson Senior Member

    Houston, Texas
    USA / English
    "With regarding to" is not English. You would have to say "with regard to what", or "regarding what". A lot will depend on how you ask the question. It sounds much less abrupt to ask "may I ask what this call is about?" or "may I ask what this is regarding?"
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Welcome Andri:)

    There is nothing really impolite about any of the examples given, although With regard to what? is moving in that direction. It would depend how you said it.
    But most of them are not normal family English.

    Sabelotodo has given a simple alternative - for most people wouldn't use regard in this sense in normal telephone conversation.

    Of course, if you are in the very difficult position of having to make up an example of a what question that uses regard, that's a different matter. In a tight corner with your knife against my throat, I might have suggested maxiogee's offering (again) or "What is is it regarding?"

    But I would swear never to use the sentence myself.

    [Alternative view, from the perspective of my son, simply grunt and say:
    What about?]
  8. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    1. Hello, may I speak to Chris.
    2. He's not hear at the moment. May I take a message?
    1. Yes, tell him John called.
    2. And what is this regarding?
    1. Wondering if he wanted to play tennis on Saturday.
    2. I'll give him the message.

    I use "and what is this regarding?"
  9. andri Member

    Why you don't like "What is it regarding?"?
    Is it rude or sounds silly?
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    You've got it Andri - I think it sounds silly.
    It seems a kind of pompous thing to say. Something that might be said by someone who was trying to sound formal, and in fact sounded (to me) pretentious.
    Please take into account that this is my personal view. I am sure that there are secrataries across the land who say, "What is it regarding?" many times every working day. It is fine in that context.

    But I have in mind that you are taking a casual phone-call at home for your Dad.
  11. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    It's not that "What is this regarding?" is wrong, it's just that any sentence with "regarding" may seem too formal for everyday use.
  12. meagain9969 Member

    Mexico. Spanish
    What I can get is that "regarding what?" and "what is it regarding?" are similar to "what is it about?"
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ah, yes, that's exactly what I meant to say, but didn't.
    ... and exactly that too, I think.
  14. meagain9969 Member

    Mexico. Spanish
    Thanks a lot. I think I will go for "what is it regarding?". It sound nicer and a bit different!!!
  15. thorrnydevil New Member

    English - Australian
    "Regarding", 'to" and "about" are all prepositions and shouldn't be used to finish a sentence.
  16. thatlinguist Member

    Mexico City
    American English - Southern California
    On several business English CDs I bought in the UK, I heard the expression,
    "May I ask the purpose of your call?"
    This is very polite and professional, and it avoids the problems that many people have when trying to use"regard/regards/regarding".
  17. thorrnydevil New Member

    English - Australian
    That is a far better alternative, thatlinguist.
  18. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    The context is not one of a business call. Most of the suggestions are very formal and might sound okay coming from a secretary.
    Coming from the intended party's child, I'm expecting the caller to say "It's between me and your father." (only they probably won't be that nice). Unlike secretaries, children should not responsible for screening their parent's calls nor should they be party to their parent's private business unless the caller should volunteer the information.
    Child: Hello. May I ask who's calling?
    Caller: This is Susan Smith. May I speak to your father?
    Child: May I ask the purpose of your call?
    Caller: I'm calling to tell him he left his socks under my bed. :eek:
  19. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is a hoary old rumour that has no foundation in any reputable grammar text.
    See preposition sentence for a great deal more - and please do not discuss the topic further in this thread, where it is off-topic.

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