« How to Avoid Silly Errors in Email | Main | The Awkward "Please" »

May 20, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I would never use the phrase "as per", even in technical text. It's a strange hybrid of English and Latin that sounds both wrong and pretentious.

Couldn't we just do a straight translation here of "per" and say "as with"? Or replace "as per" with "according to"?


I also cringe at the term "as per". That may be because some of my coworkers use it too often, and many times incorrectly. I think I would use "as stated in Instruction 3231"


I would use

Attach the plate to the rod following Instruction 3231 on plate-rod assembly.

Lester Smith

How about simply removing the "as"? I see nothing wrong with:

Attach the plate to the rod per Instruction 3231 on plate-rod assembly.


Thanks for your suggestions! Let's see if others have ideas.

Mike Badger

The Handbook of Technical Writing from Bedford/St. Martins makes a nice reference book. Here's the advice on using per: "When [per is] used to mean 'according to,' the expression is jargon and should be avoided."

As a technical writer, I would say there's a bigger issue than using as per to reference other instructions. It's an issue of clarity.

Each time you make a reader break from the current set of instructions to find, follow, and return from another set of instructions, you run the risk of losing the reader.

I think there's lots of options to edit "as per" that depends more on the actual context of document than whether or not it's jargon. But that may be just my opinion.


Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your suggestions. It sounds as though we agree that "as per" stinks. The suggestions that seem most workable to me are:

--according to
--as stated in

Mike, thanks for commenting and sharing "The Handbook of Technical Writing" advice. I agree that multilayered instructions are wrong-headed. The woman in my class, however, had a reason for using them. In her view, all the assemblers actually know the substeps. They are simply there for reference in case a new assembler is learning the procedure.



I would never use "following" due to readability issues, including potential ambiguity. "According to" and "as stated in" are wordy for technical documents. I would simply use "per" and spare the sorry bunch who have to read my docs some text.


http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/asper.html This explains why "as per" is not necessary.


I can't recall an instance where 'as per' made sense.

There is almost always a clearer alternative;

- as agreed
- as indicated in
- as shown
- etc.

Almost every time I see 'as per' it comes across as a fatuous pseudo-latin affectation. Harsh, I know, but it is a jarring distraction from the flow of text.

Even if the alternative occasionally involves more words, I avoid the phrase like the plague. The objective is clarity, not brevity.

There may be cases where it is appropriate, but they are few and far between.

My $0.02 worth.


I can't help adding two uses of 'as per' that surface on the first page of a Google search on the term:

"I can play as per situation demands"

"Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt to marry as per Hindu style"

Shoot me now. It'll be less painful.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Rob. Thanks for your colorful comments and good examples. But shoot you? No, we can't do that!


Steve F

I came across this site in an attempt to explain to a co-worker why "as per" isn't correct.

I figured I would add my 2 cents. =)

"Per" means "according to."
"As per" would mean "as according to," which I think we can all agree is not correct.

"As per usual" drives me insane.
"As usual" would be correct.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Steve. Thanks for your helpful comments.


Patrick Denker

I too find "as per" redundant and an unlovely English-Latin hybrid. According to the OED, however, it's historically common to preface "per" with "as" when used to mean "according to" (rather than "for each"). The earliest documented uses in English date back to the 1500s and continued through the early 20th century. It probably sounds affected to us today mostly because it's fallen out of common use in the last 100 years.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Interesting--thanks, Patrick.



I agree- "as per" is redundant. I do architectural construction documents and "per" is good enough. Short, sweet, and our builders know what it means.

Gerray West

I always hated "as per"...seemed to be pretentious and overused!


People who use as per are usually trying to look smarter than they are. Like people who use "whilst". I remember the old saying... Better to keep your mouth shut and have everyone think you're stupid, than to open your mouth and prove it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Lee. I find people often use such phrases because they see others using them. That's why I am glad about this discussion.

Thanks for joining in.


The comments to this entry are closed.