01 December 2017

spellcheck #5

Here is another Latin-based expression that’s in danger of being murdered by misspelling: per se. The phrase is used to mean in itself or by itself, often in the context of a negative.

I don’t have a thing against magnolias per se, just the one in my garden. (Guardian)

The spelling “per say” gets c. 600K Google hits, though most are articles pointing out the mistake.

The example I’ve just come across is from E E Holmes’s otherwise well-crafted Gateway ghost-comedy-thriller series.

There’s no official probation, per say, in Durupinen law.

From book 4 in the series, Whispers of the Walker (Kindle version).