Per say or Per se – Which is Correct?

Some words in the English Language were derived from foreign languages like Latin, German, and French. In the context of “per say or per se”, “per se” derived from Latin makes your sentence top-notch and creates the required emphasis on what is being explained.

It was first recorded or used in the English Language in the 1500s and is being used to date. As you read this article, I will show you the difference between these two words and help you understand how both are used in a sentence.

Per say or Per se

Per se Definition:

This word means “by itself”. It is used when you want to define an element out of two things singularly. It is usually used when you want to sound smart, learn in your speeches, and communicate with others.

On the other hand, it distinguishes two related ideas or information and provides the essence of one over the other.


  • I didn’t really leave the club per se, I tried to show my importance to their values.
  • Your handwriting is not bad per se; the director’s comment made me look into how you wrote the “l” and the “m.”

Per say or Per se

Meaning of Per say:

Per say on the other is often a misspelling of Per se. It is used by students or writers who do not know the exact spelling of the word. Since the two words have the same pronunciation (Homophone), it can easily be mistaken for the correct word.


  • It is not a library per say, but it has all the books you can think of as a lawyer. (Incorrect)
  • Most times, it’s not the alcohol that gets you drunk per say; it’s the excess impurities within the drink that make your body uncomfortable. (Incorrect)

Read this: Learnt vs. Learned: Which is Correct?

FAQs about “Per say” vs. “Per se”

What’s the correct phrase: “per say” or “per se”?

The correct phrase is “per se.” It’s a Latin term that means “in itself” or “by itself.”

What does “per se” mean in English?

“Per se” indicates that you are referring to a particular thing on its own. For example: “I don’t dislike the color green per se, but I wouldn’t paint my room with it.”

Is “per say” ever the correct usage?

No, “per say” is a common misspelling. The correct term from Latin is “per se.”

How do I use “per se” in a sentence?

“Per se” emphasizes that you are talking about one particular thing on its own and not in connection with other things. For instance: “It’s not the cost per se, but the overall value that matters to me.”


As you have read through the difference between the two, now you know that “Per se” means by “itself or without a determination by” while per say is the misspelling of the initial word.

Awesome one; I hope this article on “Per say or Per se” answers your question.

Share this Information.

Paschal Uchechukwu
Paschal Uchechukwu

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain is a professional and passionate SEO writer on Education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips.

He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain holds a degree in Computer Science from a reputable institution. Also, he is passionate about helping people get access to online money-making opportunities.

Articles: 804