per se » per say

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • The self-titled debut isn’t bad, per say, but it does have a guilty-pleasure feel that may have been better received in the hazy days of summer. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 14, 2005)
  • Resident Sara Torre said, “I’m not concerned about the Wal-Mart per say, but I’m concerned about the scope of the project and the location.” (Capital News 9, 2005/1/2)
  • “We really are on track, we’re not in a crisis,” Morrison said. “We don’t need a change agent per say, we want someone who’s going to stay with this vision that’s working.” (Marshfield Mariner, February 9, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/02/12 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Keith , 2006/10/24 at 7:03 pm

    What troubles me more than the misspelling is that a writer who uses “per say” most likely doesn’t know what the phrase even means. Many seem to think it means “strictly speaking,” “literally,” or “for example,” as opposed to the Latin per se, meaning “of itself.” Sports writers seem particularly vulnerable to this affliction:

    Exempli gratia:

  2. “You’re not going to see us change and try to, per say, throw more or become other things that we’re not. (Cedar City Review, Oct. 12, 2006)
  3. “I didn’t give a speech per say but some encouragement about what we (offense) needed to do. “(The Trentonian, Oct. 9, 2006)

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