Complete the sentence: “I am writing to you _________ your last email.” Which word fits best? “Regarding”? “With regard to”? “According to”? These three phrases are all particularly useful in more formal communication and correspondence at work, but they are often mixed up due to their similar meanings and grammatical forms. Here are some tips and examples to help you decide which one to use.
In simple terms, “regarding” means “about” or “relating to”. It’s quite a formal word, so you’re more likely to hear it at work than when talking to friends. It is always followed by a noun phrase.
Note that we cannot use the word “to” after it, so the following example is not correct: “
I am calling regarding to our meeting.”
- I am writing regarding our appointment next week.
- I would like to talk to you regarding our order.
- We had some problems regarding the delivery time.
- They interviewed the politician regarding her plans.
With regard to
This have a very similar meaning to “regarding” and is also a very formal phrase. Unlike with “regarding”, this phrase must always have a “to”. It is also followed by a noun phrase.
- I am writing with regard to the presentation.
- He has some questions with regard to our offer.
- What are your views with regard to the takeover?
This is used to report something that someone else tells you. It is equivalent to laut in German, secondo in Italian, selon in French or según in Spanish. It can sometimes be used to show that we don’t know that something is true; we have just heard it from somebody else.
- According to my friend, the prices are very good.
- According to the teacher, the test will be easy.
- According to the website, the shop is open until 8.
- More people will lose their jobs according to the article.
It can also be used to mean in line rules/a request/guidelines.
- You must pay this fine according to Paragraph 7b.
- We should write everything in the accident book according to the health and safety guidelines.
Can you think of any more examples using the phrases? Or are there other similiar phrases that you mix up? Feel free to share them in the comments below.