With regards to a grammar question

Man says "with regards to", thinks "I don't know what to say."

Hello, can you help me with a grammar question I have?

What is the difference between:

With regards to beauty, attitude is more important than appearance.

and  A beautiful attitude is more important than a beautiful appearance.

Are these the same? Could they be different? Is there a rule about this?

Thank you,

Ezra

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Hi Ezra

Thanks for your question. I see this not as a question of grammar but of clarity, and I'm very happy to help. In fact I enjoy such questions because they force me to analyse an interesting aspect of language.

Let's call the statements A. and B.

A. With regards to beauty, attitude is more important than appearance.

B. A beautiful attitude is more important than a beautiful appearance.

I'm not sure what A. means. I have to stop and think, and it has various possible meanings, all pretty vague.

The most probable meaning is B. The meaning of B, moreover, is absolutely clear. Unlike A, B is a simple statement in plain language.

The phrase "with regards to" is best avoided. At the start of a sentence it means, "I am going to say something about the next thing I mention." When I am tempted to use the phrase, I ask myself, what do I really want to say? And I write that instead.

In Japanese, I sometimes think of "ga" as a rough equivalent of "with regards to" — but "ga" is an essential particle, not a wordy redundant phrase. In English, "with regards to" is usually a warning sign of waffle. 

 

All good wishes

Rachel


Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine

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