Someone had just replied me with this sentence.... Not just for you per say…

What does per say mean in this sentence? Replaced per say as "in itself"seem doesn't make sense...

References: What does "persay"/"per say" mean?

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  • 2
    So, when you look in a dictionary, what does "per se" mean? – Hot Licks Apr 4 '16 at 2:41
  • I always knew it as "per se." Is it common to see it as "per say" instead? – SophArch Apr 4 '16 at 3:55
  • Answer below is correct, however I want to specify that "per say" is not the correct phrase, nor does it make any sense. Consider that "per se" literally means "in itself" or "by itself" in Latin. – Inazuma Apr 4 '16 at 5:46
  • What was the person speaking about? Per se is what the person should have written. Did you not read the answer to the older question? – Mari-Lou A Apr 4 '16 at 5:49
  • Note that the the poster here followed our advice to ask a new question on a separate page instead of posting a follow-up question beneath the "What does 'persay'/'per say' mean?" question. I've upvoted the question here in recognition of user168608's good-faith effort to comply with our site's preferences. – Sven Yargs Apr 4 '16 at 5:55

"per se" means "by itself" so "Not just for you per se" means not just you, but others". However, since you already say "Not just for you", "per se" is redundant. An example of "per se" would be: It isn't his rudeness per se, but his overall behaviour that puts people off." http://grammarist.com/usage/per-se/ "The best controlled studies conclude that bed-sharing per se does not put infants at risk. [Sacramento Bee]

Our astonishment exists per se and isn’t based on comparison with something else. [Wisława Szymborska]

For the most part, the meetings focused less on currency levels per se and more on the underlying trade imbalances. [Business Insider]"

  • A lot of people seem to use "per se" to be synonymous with "as such", which is in most cases also redundant, and used just to add emphasis (like saying 'actually' or 'as it happens'). – Max Williams Apr 4 '16 at 8:25
  • per se = just = as such For example, It isn't just his rudeness, but his overall behaviour that puts people off. "As such" has different connotations. For example, A teacher, as such, is a figure of authority. (in that capacity). However, a language evolves over time. "as such" is now being used as a synonym for "therefore". – Cathy Gartaganis Apr 4 '16 at 9:15

The rest of the sentence is needed or, at least, the context in which it's used. Per se, from Latin, along with the definition you illustrate, can mean 'intrinsically' or 'inherently'. Seems to be misused, however.


First, a dictionary definition:

Per se adverb By or in itself or themselves; intrinsically: it is not these facts per se that are important - ODO

Let's work with a more complete variant of that example.

Defendant: The facts are that only 50 cents was taken, and the money was returned.
Council: It is not these facts per se that are important, it is that they are repeated. This is the tenth time that we've had to do this.

This means that what is important isn't the facts intrinsically, it's something else (in this case, the repetition).

Let's now take this back to your example:

Not just for you [per se].

Assuming the context is one of giving 'you' a present, the sentence fragment has the sense that it's not given to (for) 'you' just because 'you' are 'you'. It might be because of who 'you' represent or for 'your' help, etc, but not for 'you'. Note that without further context, this can come across as somewhat awkward both socially and in the English, possibly even rude.

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