General Writing and Grammar Help/Correct usage of per se


Mr. Ward wrote at 2010-03-04 09:32:11
I'd just like to point out the ironic typo, "per say." Only ironic since it is assumedly answered via "experts."

However, in my somewhat limited experteise - limited because I have not yet been paid for services rendered in matters of English writing and grammar - you are correct in your understanding and explanation of the term, "per se." (no pun intended)

YesAsInGenghis wrote at 2011-08-24 15:54:39
Jerry's answer is less than desirable, given he manages to misspell the phrase in question within his answer. "Per se" can be a difficult addition to any sentence, due to its trendy overusage by intellectual frauds. It's an unnecessary addition to almost any sentence, but if you simply have to use it, it's best to follow a few simple rules:

1. Never use it more than once in any document. This goes for most jargon-enhancing words such as "regardless", "however", and other words of that ilk. Including the word "ilk".

2. Use it when appropriate. Don't throw it into any old sentence, make sure it's actually going to ensure the proper meaning of the sentence shows through.

3. Traditionally, it's surrounded by commas. "Per se" occurs more often in conversation than in print. Use it as if you were speaking, with a pause between the connecting portions of the sentence. Example- He wasn't a terrible editor, per se, he simply didn't take the time to review his answer properly.  

dbar wrote at 2014-04-07 03:32:12
am i smoking something, or is this answer completely wrong?

I am amazed at the stuff written on the internet, with no filter.

i am not fantastic on the use of "per se", but at least spell it correctly.

and the literal meaning is of "per se" is "through Himself/herself/itself/themselves"...

pleeeeze... don't talk on a subject unless you verify your answer.  

Dennis wrote at 2016-03-21 17:07:52
This is what I found at on this issue: per se is Latin for "by, of, or in itself or oneself or themselves", as such, intrinsically. Here is another useful website so that you can check almost any phrase: There are pretty interesting examples with the usage of "per se".  

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Jerry Leone


I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.


I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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