Why do people use per se incorrectly?

Asked by: Selena Kertzmann Sr.  |  Last update: August 29, 2023
Score: 4.1/5 (59 votes)

Per se is misused when it's used in place of perfectly good words such as 'necessarily'. For example, “He wasn't angry, per se, he just wasn't happy about it”. The word 'necessarily' would be more appropriate in this instance. It's also incorrectly used as in 'so to speak' - a kind of long-form bunny quote.

What is the correct usage of per se?

Per se means “by itself” or “intrinsically,” and it's often used to avoid making generalizations, as in I don't dislike pizza per se, I'm just not in the mood for it.

What is the origin of the word per se?

Where does per se come from? Per se is a phrase taken directly from the Latin, meaning “by itself,” and with the sense of “in and of itself.” Per is a preposition that can mean “through” or “by means of” and se is a reflexive pronoun.

Can you use per se in formal writing?

Per se is considered a formal term by most, and we commonly use it in academic writing or formal settings. It's not typically used in informal conversations or everyday speech, but some people do use it.

Is per se a formal word?

And “per se” is, in fact a formal term used in legal and scholarly documents. It's a Latin term whose equivalen in English is “by itself.” And you can use the English equivalent but you would sound informal, even unscholarly.


19 related questions found

What does per se mean in legal dictionary?

Per se is a latin phrase that means "through itself." It also means "by itself or "in itself." Per se if generally used in a legal sense to mean that without referring to anything else, something must be accepted because it is self evident or inherent.

Can I use per in academic writing?

The choice of which to use (or avoid) is entirely a matter of taste. The more ponderous as per is often found in business and legal prose, or in writing that attempts to adopt a formal tone. It is not incorrect to use, but some find it overly legalistic and counsel avoiding it for that reason.

What is not appropriate to use in formal writing?

You should try to avoid expressions that are too informal, unsophisticated, vague, exaggerated, or subjective, as well as those that are generally unnecessary or incorrect. Bear in mind, however, that these guidelines do not apply to text you are directly quoting from your sources (including interviews).

What should you not use when writing formally?

Formal Writing Voice
  • Do not use first-person pronouns ("I," "me," "my," "we," "us," etc.). ...
  • Avoid addressing readers as "you." ...
  • Avoid the use of contractions. ...
  • Avoid colloquialism and slang expressions. ...
  • Avoid nonstandard diction. ...
  • Avoid abbreviated versions of words. ...
  • Avoid the overuse of short and simple sentences.

What does per se mean in philosophy?

per se (not comparable) (philosophy) Positing itself and being a principle of its own determination. (law) That does not leave discretion to the judge to take into account additional factors that could rebut the judgment, deriving the qualification from the statute.

What is the meaning of ipso facto?

Ipso facto is a Latin phrase, directly translated as "by the fact itself", which means that a specific phenomenon is a direct consequence, a resultant effect, of the action in question, instead of being brought about by a previous action. It is a term of art used in philosophy, law, and science.

Can I use per se in an essay?

Yes, although I would recommend using it only in its original meaning of "in or by itself or themselves". When it is used to mean "as such", it is just a buzzword. If you mean "as such", then write "as such".

What is the plural form of per se?

perse (countable and uncountable, plural perses)

What part of speech is per se?

PER SE (adverb) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary.

What does it mean when you use the word per?

Per is a Latin preposition that means "through" or "by means of". Per (pronounced like "purr") is also an English preposition that can mean "for each", "to each", "by means of", or [lastly, annoyingly] "in accordance with"; somewhat interchangeably with the [even more annoying] "as per".

How do you stop saying I think in an essay?

Take a Third-Person Perspective

Changing the perspective is a good way to take first-person pronouns out of a sentence. A third-person point of view will not use any first-person pronouns because the information is not given from the speaker's perspective.

What word is inappropriate when writing in academic contexts?

Avoid These Words and Phrases in Your Academic Writing
  • "A great deal of" I encounter the phrase a great deal of in most academic papers that I edit. ...
  • "A lot" ...
  • "Always" ...
  • Clichés. ...
  • Contractions.
  • Double negatives. ...
  • "Etc."
  • "For all intents and purposes" and "for all intensive purposes"

How do you say bad in academic writing?

  1. unacceptable.
  2. wrong.
  3. poor.
  4. lame.
  5. horrible.
  6. terrible.
  7. awful.
  8. deficient.

What does per se mean in psychology?

Per se means 'by itself' or 'in itself', and is used when you are talking about the qualities of one thing considered on its own, rather than in connection with other things. It is not the money per se that makes them unhappy, but the single-minded pursuit of that money.

What are the 10 rules of academic writing?

Drumroll, please!
  • Aim for clarity. Explain your ideas as clearly and simply as you can. ...
  • Work from an outline. ...
  • Be aware of the 80/20 rule. ...
  • Start in the middle. ...
  • Don't write about things you don't quite understand. ...
  • Pay attention to paragraphs. ...
  • Pay attention to sentences. ...
  • Write in the active voice.

Is it OK to start a sentence with per?

Yes, it's fine to begin a sentence that way.

What are illegal per se laws?

In US law, the term illegal per se means that the act is inherently illegal. Thus, an act is illegal without extrinsic proof of any surrounding circumstances such as lack of scienter (knowledge) or other defenses. Acts are made illegal per se by statute, constitution or case law.

What is the difference between per se and per quod?

However, some types of false statements are considered so damaging that they are deemed defamatory on their face ("defamation per se"). This is in contrast to "defamation per quod" where the false statement is not inherently defamatory and has to be evaluated in the context of additional facts.

What does per se mean in black law?

PER SE Definition & Legal Meaning

By himself or itself; in itself; taken alone; inherently; in isolation; unconnected with other matters.