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I have two examples:

  • I am assembling this piece of furniture as per the attached instructions
  • I am assembling this piece of furniture according to the attached instructions

Is there any difference between per (meaning according to) and according to as in the given examples? Can those two words be used interchangeably?

Are there any limitations when one word should be used but not the other?

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They mean the same in those two examples, and both are grammatical, but I dislike as per. To me it sounds stilted and I can think of no occasions on which it is necessary to use it. That, however, is a personal view with which others may disagree.

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    I agree about as per: it sounds like legalese. – Cerberus Feb 1 '13 at 13:08
  • @Cerberus It is legalese. And it is redundant - no as is required. – StoneyB Feb 1 '13 at 13:21
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    As per is also business-speak and sounds terrible ("stilted", as Barrie said) and pretentious to my ears. Your second sentence is much better than the first. – user264 Feb 1 '13 at 13:46
  • @StoneyB: Right. But people often use it with as, as per the OP's example. I use per only distributively myself, when no other option is possible. – Cerberus Feb 1 '13 at 15:12
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    I might be in the minority here, but I disagree. I use per quite often (with or without preceding as) to mean according to or as specified by, etc. But I will admit it's something of a "mixed register", being partly just a casual usage aiming at brevity, and partly an echo of a more formal "Latinate" style. – FumbleFingers Feb 1 '13 at 22:49
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According to Handling Usually Confused Expressions in English Language:

'Per' and 'according to' carry the same meaning except that 'per' is used in situations like, 'As per orders of the captain she was taken away from the ship.'

So you should not use 'as per' because, there, 'as per' seems to have an overly imperative sound.

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