Per say or Per se

Per say or Per se – Which is Correct?2 min read

Some words in the English Language were derived from foreign languages like Latin, German, french. In the context of “per say or per se”, “per se” derived from Latin makes your sentence top-notch and creates the required emphases 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 through 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 singularly define an element out of two things. It is usually used when you want to sound smart and learned in your speeches and communication with other people.

On the other hand, it distinguishes two related ideas or information and provide 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, it was the director’s comment that made me look into the way 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 actual 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)
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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.

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