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See the following two sentences.

As per my knowledge it is right.
According to my knowledge it is right.

  1. Are both the sentences right?
  2. What is the difference and use of "as per" and "according to"?
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    The particular construction as per my knowledge is unnatural - as per is normally only used in reference to some prior statement / school of thought. It more properly corresponds to in accordance with, and can't simply be used to replace the idiomatic according to my knowledge / information / understanding. Nov 6, 2011 at 2:08
  • @FumbleFingers "According to my knowledge" isn't exactly natural, either. "That's correct, to my knowledge" I think would be more natural.
    – endolith
    Aug 11, 2016 at 1:07
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    @endolith: I too have slight qualms about According to my knowledge, but it's far from unusual. Aug 11, 2016 at 12:11
  • ...the best justification I can come up with is that it really doesn't work in My knowledge is that he did it, whereas information and understanding work perfectly well there. But that's a pretty thin justification, and it obviously doesn't bother hundreds of thousands of writers (Let's face it, we're just linguistically prejudiced! :) Aug 11, 2016 at 12:17

8 Answers 8

22

Though I would understand both in written and oral communication, I find the first to be pretty odd. I wouldn't ever use it, and strongly prefer the second, "according to".

Why is this so odd? I looked a bit in the OED at the use of "as per" (odd in itself for combining two prepositions). It was first used in 1869 as a "slang" form "as per usual" by itself. I did however come across an entry that has a similar meaning to what you're looking for here: "by".

By. 3. a. According to; as stated, indicated, or directed by, as per advice, per instructions, per invoice, per ledger, etc. Usually preceded by as.

This was used as early as 1446 and as late as 1989. The difference here, I think, has been touched on: this meaning implies some obligation or requirement. No other entries seem to come close, and this matches my own mental lexicon for "per" and "as per". It just doesn't fit in this situation.

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    Why cant we just let the language evolve instead of going for correctness. "As per" is better in usage, with less syllables. And this better word would never become a part of the language unless we let it be.
    – Midhat
    Aug 10, 2010 at 5:29
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    I'm inclined to agree with you, but my spidey sense tingles when I hear it. To me, "as per" is truly awful compared to "according to", and I was trying to figure out why.
    – Charlie
    Aug 10, 2010 at 16:01
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The two phrases have the same meaning but different in register.

"According to" is normal register while "as per" connotes commercial correspondence as in:

The shipment will arrive prior to December first, as per our agreement.

8

Both are bad English and are unnatural and incorrect uses of English as they are superfluous and add no additional or necessary information to the sentence. In general this type of mistake is common amongst Indian speakers of English. I believe, quiet ironically, that it is thought to add an air of intelligence to a statement. In fact, to a native speaker, it adds an air of pretentiousness that may serve to undermine the speaker in the eyes of the listener.

It clearly goes without saying that any statement you make is 'as per your knowledge' or 'according to your knowledge' unless stated otherwise. What else could possibly be the case.

What is the difference for example, between these statements with and without this structure...

A) "Manchester United won the Premier League in 2012"

B) "According to my knowledge, Manchester United won the Premier League in 2012" or B) "As per my knowledge, Manchester United won the Premier League in 2012"

In English we use 'according to...' to cite someone else. To cite oneself is clearly absurd, unless you are citing a paper you published, or something you have formally written. To cite your opinion or knowledge is meaningless.

We use 'as per' to refer back to something, such as 'as per our previous discussion' or 'as per the rules of the game'. Again, to use it to refer back to your knowledge appears ridiculous.

Regards and best of luck

Sanjay

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  • I was taught that the as part of as per is always a petty pleonasm, redundantly redolent of people who like to talk too much.
    – tchrist
    Sep 30, 2013 at 11:50
  • +1, coming from an Indian, I couldn't agree more with your analysis!
    – prrao
    Jan 13, 2018 at 16:33
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Per means according to, so you can in fact say "per our agreement, you must...". The as in your first sentence is pleonastic, and sounds affected: I'd avoid it. The very common "as per usual" is a humorous prolixity.

Whether to use per or according to is the same as whether to use any archaic form or common usage. In some areas (e.g. law) it's more common to see per, so you could use it to set the tone as legalese.

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People who want to sound important write as per. People who are important write according to.

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  • Hmm. I can't write "Per my [answer / previous comment / whatever]" because I don't have one handy. But so far as I'm concerned, per in such a context would just be shorthand for as per, and I don't perceive this usage as "self-important". Nor, incidentally, do I think it always has to mean according to. I'm quite happy to have it mean as implied by in some contexts. What you say after per xxx might not be explicitly stated or required by xxx. To me, it just has to be "in accordance with xxx" (ie - it must be at least implied by, and not conflict with, whatever xxx says). Nov 5, 2011 at 20:27
  • For me, 'as per' belongs with 'We acknowledge receipt of yours of the 23rd inst.' Nov 5, 2011 at 21:15
  • Per my first comment, I disagree! :) Nov 5, 2011 at 22:38
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Just to clarify...

'As per' is often used in legal discussions, for example regarding contracts. For example, "As per article 4 section 8..." and this has a different meaning to "According to article 4 section 8..."

For example if Article 4 Section 8 stated that you needed a doctors note in order to take sick leave you might say...

As per Article 4 Section 8 of our contract, I have attached a copy of my doctors note.

whereas with according to the meaning would be different.

According to Article 4 Section 8 I must supply a sick note in order to take sick leave.

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I understand that per is an older and more formal version of according to, so it is very common to encounter per in some very serious and formal written language while according to has become a normal usage.

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    Welcome to EL&U, Evelyn. No need to add your name or signature at the end of posts - we like to keep those to the point. Your username displays beneath your work on the site, and it links back to your profile, where you can add anything else you'd like people to know!
    – aedia λ
    Nov 5, 2011 at 20:08
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Insofar as the answer refers to the two sample sentences: (As per my knowledge it is right /According to my knowledge it is right), I would tend to agree. However, as regards the general usage and difference between "as per" and "according to", I would disagree. The expression "as per" is simply a different register from "according to", and both terms are widely used in commercial and legal documents.

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  • Which answer here are you referring to? Dec 24, 2021 at 9:58
  • The one I thought I'd clicked on to post the response.
    – user46359
    Dec 27, 2021 at 10:57
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    There are currently 8 answers to the question. I recommend editing your answer to include the link to the answer you are referring to (click on the 'Share' link under the answer), and include the username of the answer author, to make it clear which answer you are referring to. Dec 28, 2021 at 0:26

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