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I've read and have heard of both 'as per' and 'per' being used conversationally, both with the same connotation of either 'according to' or 'on authority of'


"Tell Ron to start molding new rollers for the mecanum wheels, as per me"

"Per Mr. Crane, you need to start the molds for the new rollers."

They both establish the same context by setting that something should be done on the authority of someone else (or the speaker, per the first example (see what I did there?)). Or it acts as a way to cite a source of a statement, directive or fact in conversational speech.

My question is, what is, if any, the functional and syntactical difference between as per and per. If there are no differences, which is apropos to use?

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Just that as per is more formal and older than per. The trend now seems to be to prefer per, just as we tend to shorten everything else. –  Kris Jan 16 '12 at 9:40
I've always thought "as per" was an over-correction, a mistaken attempt at sounding more formal while not quite understanding the formal nuances of syntax (similar to using "whom" in places where only "who" makes sense, in a mistaken attempt to formalize speech). But perhaps it is just that "as per" used to be used more and is now fading (just like the case of "whom", for that matter). Or, they could be genuinely unique in meaning and usage, and there is simply a lot of confusion about which is which. Anyway, +1 for your use of nested parenthesis. –  Ben Lee Jun 21 '13 at 22:48
@BenLee what can I say; it's the programmer in me. –  WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Jun 23 '13 at 5:36
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6 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Among meanings for preposition per, wiktionary.org includes "in accordance with [e.g.] I parked my car at the curb per your request." It defines as per as a preposition meaning "Consistent, or in accordance, with." Taking wiktionary as a guide, one can use either form with little difference in meaning, but I think some people will object to such use of per and others to such use of as per. My preference is for per because most uses of as per that I've heard seem pompous and verbose.

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+1 for "either form with little difference in meaning". Probably the answer should not include a personal preference unless you also show that it your preference is representative. –  MετάEd Jan 16 '12 at 16:18
@MetaEd - Via ngrams for per,as per I observed that frequency of use of per is more than that of as per, but was unwilling to regard that as showing representativeness, so I stated a personal preference and my reasons for it, after noting that some people object to one form, and some to the other form. I suspect that "don't know & don't care" is actually most representative. –  jwpat7 Jan 16 '12 at 17:03
I am referring to the last sentence in which you give as your reason not a verifiable generality about word frequency but a personal impression that the usage is pompous and verbose. So the claim is about your personal impression and your resulting personal preference. I am not judging your personal preference in any way, just saying it does not belong in the answer. –  MετάEd Jan 16 '12 at 17:54
@jwpat7: I'm not sure what you are doing in ngrams, but wouldn't 'per' necessarily have a higher always than 'as per' since the former will always appear when the latter appears (and maybe sometimes more)? –  Mitch Jan 16 '12 at 21:40
@Mitch, the per count is necessarily not less than, rather than necessarily more than, the as per count, but of course in point of fact the former count is hundreds or thousands times as much. In any case, the proper test may be x as per y counts versus x per y counts, x, y being the same for both counts. I don't know how to get ngrams to give such counts without manually entering x, y. –  jwpat7 Jan 16 '12 at 22:52
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I find the use of 'as per' to be redundant; they mean the same thing. Simply use 'per your instructions' or 'as you indicated' and be done with it. I also understand that the phrase 'as per' is antiquated and obsolete.

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I was once severely chidden for accidentally ad-libbing as per in a stage performance where the line of course called for simply per. Apparently, as per merits the same scorn as does thusly for being pretentious twittery — leastways, that’s what I got told. –  tchrist Mar 26 '13 at 0:50
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According to Oxford dictionary, per is a preposition and means: for each and by means of. While as per is a phrase, which means in accordance with.

  1. Gas is 2 USD per gallon
  2. Send it per express

As per example

  1. I made it as per your instructions
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The two are demonstrably different and not interchangeable, witness:

  • "As per the forecast, it will rain this afternoon." -- This prophecy will be coming true later.
  • "Per the forecast, it will rain this afternoon." -- The prophecy has merely been made.

Using "according "+ to replace the permutations of per, "Per", in this case, is "According to ...", whereas "As per" is "In accordance with ...".

A solid case could be made that the first could also be "Per the forecast it will rain this afternoon.", with the difference lying in prosody; I'm inclined to agree--but the second meaning cannot be evinced using "As per...", and trying to do so makes Old Mother Hubbard sadder.

Long made short: "as per" is not long for "per"; it is short for "exactly per".

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Can you provide a citation for this distinction? –  Andrew Leach Apr 26 '13 at 6:56
No, but you're welcome to cite it at will. Just don't make Ma Hubbard sadder. :-) –  Tomer Apr 26 '13 at 7:08
I meant, Can you provide external justification for this distinction, or this is simply your opinion? [I know I can cite this answer using the share link below it] –  Andrew Leach Apr 26 '13 at 7:11
The only opinion I registered is my inclination to agree that, through differences in prosody (which people are not generally accustomed to representing or interpreting textually), the identical (reduced) wording can be used to evince both meanings; the remainder is, as I demonstrated, demonstrable fact. I invite an intellectual challenge, even if by means of resort to anecdote; a challenge requesting an appeal to authority does not, in my opinion, constitute a valid intellectual challenge. –  Tomer Apr 26 '13 at 7:16
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As Per

A phrase commonly recognized to mean "in accordance with the terms of" a particular document—such as a contract, deed, or affidavit—or "as authorized by the contract."

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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The questioner is already familiar with as per; the question asks what the difference between as per and per is. –  choster Nov 4 '13 at 21:14
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In other words, Tomer's contribution is merely an opinion.

"Per" is an American relaxation of "as per" made in much the same way as similar relaxations in spelling such as, "gonna" instead of "going to." Common use doesn't make it correct.

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If common use doesn't make something correct, what does? Dictionaries and style guides are ultimately based on common use, after all. –  choster Oct 11 '13 at 18:36
@choster - I don't disagree with your assertion, but dictionaries and style guides error on proper use and what they think is common use. Some words may have meanings that change quickly and are not always updated to reflect that quickly. –  RyeɃreḁd Oct 11 '13 at 19:17
At any rate, every single word in this answer is incorrect, both per and as per its author's very own reasoning. –  RegDwigнt Oct 11 '13 at 19:51
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