Usage and Grammar

Q. Hello there!! I am writing to ask if you could shed some light on the usage of the expression “regard shall be had.” One of my teachers at my translation course uses it constantly as an equivalent to Spanish expressions such as “en función a” and differentiates this use of “regard” from transition linkers such as “regarding” or “with regard to.” Let me provide you with one sentence, which was actually discussed in class: “Regard shall be had to the best interest of the Argentine Audit office.” (This was our translation for the Spanish sentence “Se estará a los intereses de la Auditoria General de la Nación.”) But this expression does not really make sense to me as I haven’t heard or seen it in many contexts. I was wondering if you could provide me with more information about this use of “regard” and whether this expression (“regard shall be had”) can be used in both the active and the passive voice.

A. An idiomatic translation of your Spanish sentence would be “The best interests of the National Audit Office will be considered.” The expression “Regard shall be had” is grammatically and literally correct, but it is a formal construction used only in contracts and other legal writings. Native speakers of English do not write it or say it in a normal context—not even in a scholarly book—unless they are trying to be funny. The meaning is “Someone must pay attention”:

Regard shall be had to the bargaining positions of both parties.

“In regard to” and “regarding” both mean “concerning” or “about”:

With regard to the train ticket, you can buy it at the station.

Regarding the train ticket, you can buy it at the station.

As for the train ticket, you can buy it at the station.

Please note that “regards” in the plural means “good wishes”:

I’m sending this note with regards to your mother.