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Is It Correct to Say “As Per”?

“As per” is one of those curious phrases that make one sound instantly fancy. As such, you probably hear it in formal settings or when reading satire, but is it grammatically correct anymore? Wouldn’t it be better to drop the “as” and use “per” instead for concise writing?

“As per” is a formal phrase meaning “according to.” You can see it in other formal phrases like “as per your request.” Despite its seemingly awkward construction, “as per” is applicable to current legal and business contexts both in speech and writing. However, you should avoid using it in informal English.

Here, we have a phrase with both a long history and an odd construction. Let’s break it down.

What Does “As Per Your Request” Mean?

“As per your request” is a formal phrase meaning “as [you] requested.” It is slowly passing out of style in the business world. Historically, “as per your request” has been around for hundreds of years in written legal and business contexts to indicate the fulfillment of a prior request respectfully.

For example, one could write, “here is my cover letter as per your request.” Nowadays, however, it is less stuffy to write “here is the cover letter you requested” unless your work environment tends toward formal phrases such as “as per your request” and “to whom it may concern.”

As far as legal writing goes, “as per your request” is still acceptable in written correspondence. It reflects a respectful attitude toward the legal body addressed as well as careful attention to the fulfillment of a request that someone previously made. 

However, do not use “as per your request” for formal spoken contexts as it would come across as mocking.

“As per” is a phrasal preposition construction meaning “according to” that you may use in either spoken or written formal contexts today (source). 

Though you could achieve the same meaning with “per,” both uses are grammatically correct and helpful for communicating the completion of a task in accordance with a prior suggestion or instruction.

To report that a request, suggestion, or instruction was unfulfilled, you should place “not” near the verb. We can form neither “as per” nor “as per your request” as negative in and of themselves.

How Do You Use “As Per”?

The use of both “per” and “as per” to communicate “according to” has a long history in English. They were in use even before Shakespeare’s time! Which one you employ is entirely up to you; just ensure that you are using “as per” specifically for formal contexts (source).

Image by Aymanejed via Pixabay

Though grammatically correct, the use of either “per” and “as per” carries a sense of formality equivalent to that of “in accordance with” in spoken and written English. This sets “as per” up for both formal and humorous statements.

Formal Use

Formally, “as per” communicates a distanced, professional relationship. Its use reflects the respectful attitude of one who listened carefully to the prior arrangement or instructions and currently seeks to fulfill or remain true to it.

Warning: using “as per” causes some people to slip into employing the passive voice to sound more “professional.” Avoid using the passive voice excessively because it waters down your message unnecessarily, which is almost always unprofessional.

Humorous Use

Since we enjoy poking fun, “as per” may also add a humorously pompous air to a sarcastic remark: “as per Your Royal Highness’s demands, the tea party has been arranged.”

Do not lean on pure grammar to decide whether you will utilize “as per.” For example, you could technically say, “I finished my homework as per your instructions.” Though grammatically correct here, “as per” comes across as pompous and legalistic situationally — perfect for making your teacher crack a smile, but not for turning in your homework.

When Can You Use “As Per”?

You can use “as per” in formal business and legal speech or writing to say “according to.” It is less common to speak “as per” than to write it in these contexts, but it is still appropriate in both.

Using “as per” in a sentence relates that you are respecting the formality of the context and are in compliance with a previous request, demand, or instruction.

RequestResponse
“Please mail a copy of your driver’s license.”“Attached is a copy of my driver’s license as per your request.”
“File your application before noon.”“Here is my application as per your instruction.”
“Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in a warm, dark place.”“I placed the bread dough in a covered bowl by the oven as per your instructions.”

However, “as per” can also communicate a cold, distanced professional who is rigid and does not want anything more from the relationship than completing the tasks at hand.

Moreover, due to its long history in formal business and legal contexts, “as per” can also add “snobbishness” to a statement and come across in a mock-business-English tone to either insult or entertain.

Paying attention to the context you are in will help you decide when and how to use “as per” correctly.

In What Context Can You Use “As Per”?

Legally, “as per” reflects an attitude of respect for the judge, court, jury, or some other legal body you are addressing. You should write “as per” more often than you should speak it in a legal context, but it is appropriate to use it in both forms.

“As per” also demonstrates a respectful attitude in a business context. However, it only does so if called for. If your boss tends to be more laid back, then he or she will likely not appreciate rigid formalities such as “as per” or “to whom it may concern.” 

Otherwise, “as per” is a formal yet appropriate phrase in business contexts, especially in written form.

Another context in which you may use “as per” is in humor. Using overly formal speech is a popular way to entertain with satire or short jokes and has been for centuries. Formal phrases such as “as per” and using the passive voice are appropriate for such intended silliness.

However, be wary of unintentionally communicating mockery in formal contexts by using such formal phrases excessively or by using the passive voice more than necessary.

When Not to Use “As Per”

Do not use “as per” in informal English contexts unless you are intentionally mocking a formal context. “As per” is respectful in formal business and legal contexts but ridiculous for informal ones.

Due to its formality, “as per” is awkward in situations that do not call for it. At work, you may use “as per our agreement” when reporting results, but you should not use it while conversing in the breakroom. You ought to reserve “as per” for formal presentations, reports, and written fulfillments at work.

Suppose you work in a company that does not write formal emails and letters internally. In that case, your supervisors and boss may prefer a more relaxed, semi-formal tone for internal communication.

Many consider “as per” too formal for semi-formal contexts, so it is best to not use it unless you see or hear it in your surrounding business context.

Using “As Per” in a Full Sentence

You should place “as per” immediately before whatever you’ve done the action according to. “As per” and its object — request, demand, instructions, etc. — typically appear at the beginning or end of a sentence as a prepositional phrase clarifying how someone did something.

You may say, “I completed the project by the 13th as per our agreement” or “As per our agreement, I completed the project by the 13th.” In either case, “as per our agreement” is a prepositional phrase functioning adverbially; it is explaining how or possibly to what extent someone completed the project.

As with any prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence, place a comma immediately after the noun following “as per”: 

  • As per the syllabus, the final exam and research paper make up 60% of your grade.

However, do not place a comma before “as per” later in the sentence. 

  • Your rent is due on the 30th of each month as per the lease agreement.

“As per” may also appear in formal business English phrases such as “as per your request.” To read more about this idiomatic phrase and how to use it, read “Is It Correct to Say ‘As Per Your Request’?

What Can You Use Instead of “As Per”?

You can replace “as per” with other phrasal prepositions like “according to” or “in accordance with.” You can also opt for either “as” or “per” to stand alone. Otherwise, you can explain the object adjectivally with “in line with”: “the product is in line with your specifications.”

according toTeam 2 built the shed according to your instructions.
in accordance withTeam 2 built the shed in accordance with your instructions.
asTeam 2 built the shed as you instructed.
perTeam 2 built the shed per your instruction.
in line withTeam 2 built the shed [to be] in line with your instructions.

Any of the above replacements are satisfactory, but pay attention to how formal “in accordance with” and “per” are in comparison to the others. Whichever term you wish to use in place of “as per” ought to be in line with the context.

Preposition Types

Prepositions are small yet infamously difficult words to get straight in English. Part of their difficulty lies in the range of meanings they communicate: time, direction, or how something happened. To further complicate things, some prepositions can communicate several different meanings.

There are eight categories grammarians generally sort English prepositions into. The following table certainly does not list them all, but here are a few of the most common prepositions and their functions.

Time: at, before, during, until, after, on, and in➤You can play outside until dinner.
➤You can play outside before dinner.
➤You can play outside after lunch.
Place: on, at, in, under, over, outside, and between➤He drove over the ice.
➤He drove on the ice.
➤There is ice outside.
Direction: to, toward, forward, through, into, down, up, around, and past➤Sarah ran through the woods.
➤Sarah ran toward the woods.
➤Sarah ran past the woods.
Manner: by, with, like, on, and in➤Michael is being recorded on camera.
➤Michael looks like Eric on camera.
➤Michael responded with ease.
Agent: with and by➤The cake was baked by hand.
➤Charlotte decorated the cake with care.
Measure: of and by➤Why did you buy 20 pounds of cheese?
➤I had no idea the price was by the pound.
Source: by and from➤That picture was drawn by my toddler son.
➤I thought it had come from my husband.
Possession: of and with➤Those worries of yours are going to age you faster.
➤The worries with the ability to age me are you and your hobbies.

So, what type of prepositions are “per” and “as per”?

“As Per”

In “as per,” “per” is a preposition meaning “in accordance with.” Instances in which you would use “as per” will also take only “per” without any change in meaning. So, why include “as” at all? “As” is more difficult to peg since it can be a conjunction, preposition, or adverb (source).

Phrasal Prepositions

A little-discussed grammar construction that native English speakers use all the time is the phrasal preposition. Phrasal prepositions consist of two prepositions back-to-back and function together as a prepositional unit. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.

This is odd because two prepositions together normally mean the first one is an adverb that we can drop to simplify the sentence. In cases of “according to,” “as per,” “along with,” and others like them, however, the meaning is not quite the same if we drop one preposition.

Final Thoughts

“As per” is a formal phrasal preposition meaning “according to” that has been around for a long time. You may use it in formal business or legal contexts to be respectful, or you can use it to pompously goof off with your friends. Though it is correct to either speak or write it, you’ll most commonly find “as per” in writing.

Avoid using the passive voice when you choose to employ “as per” or other synonymous phrases. Also, be wary of sounding “too professional” in semi-formal business contexts where rigid phrases like “as per” are not appreciated or necessary. 

Now, are you able to use it as per our instructions?