Notwithstanding/irrespective/regardless

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Congotek

New Member
French - Canada
Hi,

I have a question regarding the three terms in heading. In the sentence "His experience (blank), he could not help us." what would be the proper word to use? Notwithstanding, irrespective or regardless? I would intuitively go for "notwithstanding", but I would like to know if the others would also work or not and, more importantly, why. A friend of mine asked me this question and I told him "notwithstanding" was right, but I couldn't tell him why and that bothers me. :p Thanks for any insight you can bring.
 
  • Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Notwithstanding is used with a noun as direct object, so it is correct in this case, as you thought.

    Regardless and irrespective are used with of; there is also In spite of, which is what I would say myself in your sentence.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Also, 'notwithstanding' is the only one that can be used as a postposition. It can also be used in the normal preposition place:

    his experience notwithstanding
    notwithstanding his experience

    There's also 'despite', which is followed directly by a noun phrase: despite his experience.
     

    mangoman

    Senior Member
    British English
    The distinction between these three expressions is very subtle and difficult to pin down, but here's an attempt:

    "His experience notwithstanding" would be used where it's clear that the person has one particular, known level of experience, but that in this case, how much experience he has is not relevant. or is outweighed by some other consideration. It indicates that all other things being equal, his level of experience is sufficient. "Irrespective of his experience" would be used where his level of experience isn't known: he could have any amount of experience. "Regardless of his experience" indicates more simply that we haven't concerned ourselves at all with how much experience he has.

    In different contexts, these distinctions mightn't be valid, though.
     
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