Is there a notable distinction between “concerning” and “regarding”, be it in tone alone?

I—a non-native—wondered about this when starting a sentence about the weather:

Regarding the weather, …

Concerning the weather, …

Four other random usage examples:

Aren’t all those unconditionally interchangeable?

I imagined the difference might be in context, with regarding being used when refering to something voluntarily (regards), while concerning used when somebody needs to explain oneself (concern), but I dismissed that as a wild guess with lots of examples diluting this attempt to explain.

  • 2
    According to Etymonline, concerning has the idea of reference while regard has the idea of looking. They're mostly interchangeable in English, but one may be preferred idiomatically at times (e.g. best regards when signing off), and not interchangeable at all sometimes (e.g. that problem is rather concerning).
    – Lawrence
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 9:49
  • 3
    I think 'concerning' carries overtones of 'concern = worrying about a serious problem', and that the word thus connotes more seriousness. But they're highly synonymous. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 9:50
  • Could anybody explain why some of the words are struck through?
    – john c. j.
    Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 21:03
  • 1
    @johnc.j. The list comprises exemplary occurrences of one of the words in question respectively, with the other put in lieu thereof, to underline synonymy.
    – dakab
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 9:19
  • @dakab Thanks, now it's clear. In such a case, if I were you, I would use parentheses and a question mark. For example: "An Essay Concerning (Regarding?) Human Understanding".
    – john c. j.
    Commented Sep 19, 2020 at 9:31

2 Answers 2


This piece from the grammarist discusses about the usage of "concerning" and its possible overtones as "a cause of concern", but apart from that I think that it is interchangeable with "regarding":

  • One complaint against concerning does stand up: The word is also a preposition meaning in reference to or regarding, and the adjectival concerning can cause confusion when readers or listeners initially interpret it as the preposition.

  • For instance, if you hear someone say, “His email was concerning,” you might at first expect something to come after concerning. This complaint isn’t a rock-solid case, though, as many words in English have multiple functions, but it’s a good reason for those inclined against the word to continue avoiding it.

Actually checking with Ngram, (a question concerning vs a question regarding) it appears that "concerning" used as a preposition meaning "regarding" is quite common.


Among definitions from Webster’s 3rd International Dictionary, 1967 (paraphrased and compacted):

Concerning - To relate or refer to; To be the business affair of. )The use of concerning as a synonym for anxiety- or distress-provoking or "as a cause for concern' was considered archaic.)

Instead, to describe something as a cause for worry, one might use the word

Disconcerting - 1. To shake the composure of; 2. Causing a loss of composure or self-possession, disturbing.

Example: It is unsettling to hear the term “concerning” used so frequently as a descriptive, when the speaker usually means “disconcerting.”

Therefore, "concerning" and "regarding" could reasonably refer to some affair or business matter, while it is perhaps better not to use "concerning" as an adjective or adverb.

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