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I was once told that it's incorrect to begin a sentence, "regardless, . . . ." Instead, one must specify "regardless of" something.

E.g., "Regardless, they should not have skipped out on the check" should be "Regardless of the bad service, they should not have skipped out on the check."

Does it matter whether the preceding sentences explain the "regardless" issue? E.g., if there are three sentences explaining why the service was bad, it is then ok to write "Regardless, they should not have skipped out on the check", the assumption being that it's clear in context what the "regardless" is addressing?

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    When you start a sentence with Regardless, it is naturally and commonly understood as a elision of Regardless [of the preceding]. You don't need an object. Unless you want one. – Dan Bron Jul 20 '17 at 14:53
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    People who tell you that it’s ‘incorrect’ to use English (or any other language) in ways that are used by the vast majority of native speakers of that language should be summarily ignored. If they are ever able to back up their prescriptive proscriptions with any kind of evidence, it is usually outdated bunkum. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '17 at 14:56
  • @JanusBahsJacquet With style judgement, there's no guarantee that popularity = quality. – Mitch Jul 20 '17 at 15:17
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    @Mitch Certainly not. But with style judgement, there is also no ‘incorrect’, only more or less appropriate in a given register, context, and style. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '17 at 15:26
  • @DanBron you should post that as the answer – Carl Witthoft Jul 20 '17 at 15:45
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@DanBron is correct, but brief. "Regardless" always requires a precedent. However, that precedent may have been introduced in an earlier sentence. It may have been introduced by someone else. It is acceptable when two people are debating a subject for the last speaker to say something like...

Regardless, we can agree to disagree.

Suggesting the previously discussed issues were not important enough to continue the debate but were important enough not to sway either opinion.

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