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“Per Usual” in (Business) Correspondence

“Per Usual” in (Business) Correspondence

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The topic today is related to the phrase “per usual,” a common expression used in “business talks.” 

Business communication is generally expected to be more formal and polite than casual conversations.

As time went by, though, the need for convenience has also reformed the formalistic nature of business language, giving birth to some go-to expressions like “per usual.”


What is meant by the expression “per usual?”

“Per usual” is a rather informal expression in business correspondence that can be reduced to “as always” or “as usual” in more casual conversations. It is often used to refer to a process or procedure that is understood by the interlocutors without giving exhaustive details or explanation. For instance, a superior may command a subordinate to create a monthly report per usual, which means the regular format and content are expected to be included without any significant adjustments per se.


The implied meaning of “per usual” in business correspondence

When we do something per usual in business, the message sender is implying that a particular procedure is meanwhile understood by the message receiver.

The message receiver also understands that he or she should follow a certain pattern, sequence, or format that has been done several times in the past.

This means that both interlocutors expect that the implied message is clear enough, thereby dismissing the need for an exhaustive explanation during the communication.

Therefore, it is inappropriate to use this phrase when communicating with a relatively new employee or employer in the company.

Doing so may lead to misinterpretation that would hamper the effectiveness of the intended task, potentially resulting in more unprecedented setbacks.


The function of “per usual” in business correspondence

As briefly mentioned earlier, “per usual” has become a go-to expression in business scenarios for the purpose of communicative convenience.

The phrase “per usual,” therefore, serves as a linguistic device that allows the user to save time and energy when communicating.

More implicitly speaking, the usage of this expression also suggests that the sender of the message trusts the receiver’s ability to perform a certain task.

This could be driven by the messenger’s knowledge of the recipient’s familiarity with the procedure or system encompassing the task.

Hence, using “per usual” in communication allows the efficient flow of business-related transactions, which is essential for the business’ sustainability.


The formality level of “per usual”

With regards to the register, “per usual” is less likely expected in casual conversations with friends and family members.

However, within the context of business conversations, it is also generally considered more of a jargonic expression rather than a formal one.

The use of this verbiage leans more towards aiming for communicative comfort, which consequently limits the quantity of informational input.

Also, the mere reliance upon the “implied” instead of the “explicit” meaning of a message is a characteristic of the informal register.

Hence, “per usual” is less casual than “as always” but more formal than “according to the usual” in the context of business talks.

The only way to increase the effectiveness of the phrase “per usual” is by elaborating the intended process or action further to the message recipient.


The usage of “per usual” in business correspondence

The usage of “per usual” has been increasing in the last three decades, which can be linked to technological advancements.

The development of electronic devices has induced informational accessibility, and thus, it is now easier and faster to encode and review any data.

On that note, we could say that it would be pointless to elaborate instructions and process details when they are available for review, for example, in some software tools.

To have a general sense of how “per usual” is used, please refer to the following example.

A: Hi, John. May I confirm whether there have been any recent changes to the submission process of requirements?

B: No, not really. You can do it per usual.

A: Okay, thanks!

In the example dialogue above, the usage of “per usual” suggests that the second person assumes that the first person already has some idea of the process involved.

Or, at least they are both aware that the process will still be smoothly carried out without giving or asking any further details.

Although this is the typical scenario entailed by “per usual” in business, we may have to expect a different implication of this phrase at times.

This means that “per usual” otherwise contains a negative connotation used to express irritation or annoyance toward a repetitive action.

The conventional phrase used to express this is “as per usual,” which is also argued to be redundantly or pleonastically formed.

A: I’m so hungry. Why aren’t we eating yet?

B: We are still waiting for Cindy. She’s late again, as per usual.

Considering the scenario above, the usage of pleonasm is tolerable since it is deliberately applied to achieve a particular effect.

However, using either “as usual” or “per usual” is more recommended within the context of formalistic discussions.

Since we’ve already started looking at related phrases, let’s also learn more variations of “per usual” together with some examples.


Variations of “per usual”

Knowing how “per usual” may vary in statements would help us gain a footing in understanding the subtle nuances behind it.

Here are a few examples.


As per usual

As introduced earlier, “as per usual” is more technically known as an example of pleonasm, or the excessive use of words to convey meaning.

This is because “as,” per se, already denotes the meaning “like” or “to a similar extent,” and “per” also means “according to.”

Although this is the case, “as per usual” remains to be widely-used and accepted in English nevertheless.

We also have to bear in mind that the negative connotation may affect the interpretation of this phrase, so caution and discretion are advised.

As per usual, she’s staring at nowhere.

Apparently, understanding the context of the information containing “as per usual” is simply the best way to know what it really implies.


Per the usual

Another variation is “per the usual,” which contains the definitive article “the” in the middle.

The addition of “the” specifies the reference of the overall statement to a previously-known circumstance, instruction, or procedure.

For example, a manager discussing some precautions with his team members might say something like the next example.

A: I understand that most, if not all, of you, have been doing your best to reach our quarterly quota. But, as per the usual company practice, those who have failed will still be endorsed to reorientation and retraining for a period of two weeks effective immediately.

The use of the definitive article suggests that the speaker is referring to the specific actions as decided and instructed by their company, as opposed to all companies in general.


As usual

As briefly introduced earlier, the phrase “as usual” is an alternative phrase to use instead of “per usual.”

The difference is that this verbiage is more flexible than “per usual” and can be easily applied in various registers.

And, the implied meaning still refers to the regular act or trait possessed by any entity, so it can be used as an easy replacement in statements.

As usual, the thought of geckos still makes me cringe.


As the usual

Similar to the earlier expression introduced, we may also add a definitive article to “as usual” to prompt a particularizing effect to the statement.

As the usual survey results show, more than 70% of our employees still lack a sense of time management.

The statement above suggests that the survey results are still the same as in the past, and thus, no significant changes have been observed at all.

More importantly, the use of “as the usual” in the context may prompt the decision-makers to take necessary actions to improve the status of the employees’ performance.


According to the usual

Lastly, “per usual” may also be expressed in its more formal variation by changing “per” into “according to.”

This phrase also prompts the need to specify the reference of the intended idea because of the presence of the article “the.”

According to the usual company practice, employees are encouraged to participate in the annual “Cancer for a Cause” movement by shaving off their heads.

“According to the usual” is relatively more applicable in the written language since it is more formal than the shorthand expression “per usual.”


Synonyms of “per usual”

Now that we’ve seen how “per usual” may vary in form, let’s also have a look at alternative expressions or synonyms of the phrase.

Being able to utilize synonyms is also as crucial as the earlier section because it expands vocabulary skills that would then eliminate lexical redundancy.


As always

The first, and probably the most common, synonymous phrase to “per usual” is “as always.”

Using this phrase instead of the one being discussed increases the coverage of the audience that can understand its meaning.

Amanda’s nagging again, as always.

“As always” is more applicable in casual conversations and is less likely going to be misinterpreted than “per usual.”


Every single time

Another way to express “per usual” in plain English is by using “every single time,” which is also common in colloquial conversations.

The connotation of this expression is also content-dependent, and this is often used to drive emphasis on the statement.

If he had been given a dollar every single time he misused a word, he would have been a millionaire by now.

Remember that using “every single time” entails a hyperbolic or exaggerated meaning which could either be positively or negatively interpreted.

So, caution is, again, encouraged when using it in more formal discussions.


Without fail

Similarly, “without fail” may also be used instead of “per usual” to create a more emphatic effect.

This negative denotation of “without” also provides more force, especially when using it in an imperative statement.

Meet me here tomorrow at seven o’clock in the evening without fail.

You may also use it to state a promise to someone, as long as you really intend to fulfill whatever statement you wish to convey.

Without fail, I will always be by your side.

It can, therefore, be deduced that the striking meaning contained in this expression may also harm relationships when the implied act is not executed or achieved.


Frequently Asked Questions about “Per usual”


Is “as per usual” grammatically correct?

“As per usual” is argued to be a pleonastic or redundant phrase because of the similar meaning of “as” and “per.” However, it is still widely-used and accepted in informal business conversations at present. So, using “as per usual” rather than “per usual” does not necessarily create misunderstanding.


How can we use “per usual” in a sentence?

We can use it as an adverb of frequency similar to “as always” as in, “Business will go per usual even on the upcoming holidays.”


Is “per usual” more correct than “as per usual?”

When adhering to the movement on concise language use, as well as without having the intent to convey an emphatic effect, “per usual” is considered to be more grammatically well-formed than “as per usual.” 


Technological advancements, together with the need for communicative convenience, have given rise to shorthand expressions like “per usual.”

This linguistic phenomenon highlights the idea that language, after all, is an indispensable tool that humans can’t live without.