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The Difference Between “with regard to”, “according to”, & “in accordance with”?

Learn the difference between these words that cause confusion for many students.

In my students’ writing, I often see the phrase “according with”, but this is not a correct English expression. The correct phrase could be either “in accordance with”, “according to” or “with regard to”, depending on what the expression is connecting to.

An explanation is given for each of these expressions below to highlight the difference between them:

a) With regard to – introduces the topic and focus point of the sentence, especially when it is the beginning of a new point:

  • With regard to payment options, you can choose to pay by cash or credit card. – in this case, “with regard to” is introducing the focus topic of “payment options”

Note that instead of using “with regard to”, you can just use the preposition “regarding” (ex. “regarding payment options, you can choose to pay by cash or credit card.”)

b) In accordance with – says that an action is appropriate based on a rule, policy, regulation, or law

  • In accordance with company policy, we cannot allow anyone into the building without a mask. – this means that wearing a mask is appropriate based on the company policy

c) According to – references a source of information (who/what gave us this information?)

  • According to the company website, they offer free delivery for orders over $50. – this means that the company website is the source of the information about free delivery

To summarize:

  • With regard to + (new topic)

  • In accordance with + (rule, policy, regulation, law)

  • According to + (a source of information)

Remember that these are only the beginning of a sentence so after you write this part, you need to use a comma (,) and then write a full clause (subject + verb):

  • According to the World Health Organization, the number of COVID cases has been decreasing.


Fill in the blank with “with regard to”, “according to” or “in accordance with”. Be careful about using the correct preposition in the correct phrase.

a) ___________________ a report released by the government, the unemployment rate has increased.

b) All financial records need to be kept _________________ accounting guidelines and regulations.

c) ___________________ the English exam, there will be three parts: reading, listening, and writing.

d) ___________________the airline baggage policy, any bags over 50 pounds in weight must be checked in and cannot be brought onto the plane.

e) ___________________ the parking options at the hotel, there is an outdoor parking lot, as well as an underground parking garage.

f) There should be ten parts in the box ___________________ the instructions.


a) According to

b) In accordance with

c) With regard to (or “regarding)

d) In accordance with

e) With regard to (or “regarding”)

f) According to


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