I would like to know how can I say correctly an aggregation on a certain category, for example, let's say that I want to collect event data and display the amount of events for each user. Then, is it correct to say "I am aggregating events on a per-user basis"? Is it maybe more correct to say "I am aggregating events per-user? Can the prefix per- be used for any possible category? Am I maybe overusing it, while some other form might be preferred?

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    As Josh61 mentions, you can use per as a preposition, but I wouldn't use it as a prefix in this case (so per user instead of per-user). – oerkelens May 12 '14 at 8:51
  • ... user-by-user ? – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 9:26

Per is a useful preposition to indicate different categories. As an alternative to per user basis, you can say on a user basis. Ngram

  • thanks for your answer. per has to be used with or without dash? – fstab May 12 '14 at 9:05
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    Per-user basis is the most common form. – user66974 May 12 '14 at 9:06
  • used without dash – Pooja Raja May 12 '14 at 9:07
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    Do people actually worry about whether what they write here is correct? A quick check on early Google hits for "per user basis" gives a ratio of open form to hyphenated form of 19 : 17, including one article using one of each. I'd use the hyphenated form because I think it scans better (and we want to steer clear of peruser basis). But the above two comments seem opinionated rather than warranted. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 9:40
  • Hi Edwin, are you referring to the fact that I wrote that 'per-user' is more common than 'per user'? – user66974 May 12 '14 at 9:44

Per- as a prefix means throughly or intensely or completely as in perfect(per-fect), perplex(perplex) etc. So here use of per as prefix is not advisable or correct.

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    And this is the reason why the use of the word 'percentage' is 'not advisable or correct'. ??? Not only clearly wrong, but gets upvoted! – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 9:24
  • percentage comes from percent which means per-cent(shows completeness). I guess I am right on my reason. – Pooja Raja May 12 '14 at 9:33
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    From Online Etymology: percent: 1560s, per cent, from Modern Latin per centum " by the hundred" [bolding mine]. Stop guessing. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 9:42
  • @Edwin Ashworth So you recommend per as a prefix in this sentence is correct? – Pooja Raja May 12 '14 at 9:48
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    I'm addressing your unsatisfactory answer here (that's why I've posted as a comment underneath it); my other two comments here address OP's question. And answer your later question. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 10:21

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