Difference Between Pursue and Persue (With Table)

Many words are not only synonyms to each other but also have a similar meaning. Pursue and persue are such words that look similar and sound similar. Both the words are often used interchangeably by writers and communicators but there are distinct differences in both words.

Pursue vs Persue

The main difference between pursue and persue is that pursue is a verb and is present in the English dictionary while persue is an obsolete verb form and is not present in the English dictionary. Pursue is an original word whereas persue is regarded as a misspelling of the original word ‘pursue’.

Pursue is a verb and the word means to follow someone or something with a specific intent and determination to capture or harm. It involves a specific goal that has to be achieved. Pursue can be used as a transitive verb as well as an intransitive verb.

On the other hand, persue is an obsolete verb form. Scholars regard persue as an old way to write the original verb word “pursue”. Persue means to glance or look through images or materials and does not involve any specific intent like casually reading through a magazine or scrolling through a mobile phone.

Comparison Table Between Pursue and Persue

Parameters of ComparisonPursuePersue
Definition The meaning of pursue is to follow or travel down in a particular way or course of action with an intent of capture or harmThe meaning of persue is to examine something closely. Another meaning of persue is to look or read something in a casual, informal, relaxed or leisurely way
Type VerbVerb
UsageUsed currently Not used often as it is an obsolete form
Involvement of specificity Involves specific intent and determinationDoes not involve any specific intent or determination
Word derivation The word was derived from Middle English pursue and from Anglo-Norman Persue has a Latin root of ‘per’ which means through, over, across, by means of, or beyond

What is Pursue?

Pursue is a verb. The word was derived from Middle English pursue and from Anglo Norman pursure or poursuire. It can be used as a transitive verb as well as an intransitive verb. The pronunciation of the word is puh-syoo.

The meaning of pursue is to follow or travel down in a particular way or course of action. The following is generally associated with an intent of capture or harm. To aim or go after a specific objective also implies pursue. As a transitive verb, pursue also means to participate in any activity or business or even to practice a profession.

As an intransitive verb, it means to act as a legal prosecutor. An effort to overtake or capture or chase is also considered synonymous to pursue. Any legal action against any established and renowned activity or project means to pursue. The follow or accompany of bad luck is also called pursue. Example – Back luck pursued her.

To follow the precepts of a plan or policy also means pursue as a transitive verb. In a deeper sense, to continue to argue or discuss a point or subject means to pursue. The third-person singular simple present form is pursues, the present participle is pursuing and the simple past and past participle form are pursued. A derived word of pursue is pursuer.

What is Persue?

Persue is a verb. It is regarded as an obsolete form of pursue. Some researchers regard persue as the old spelling of pursue. It is also considered as a misspelling of pursue among various writers and communicators. The meaning of persue is to examine something closely.

Persue has a Latin root of ‘per’. ‘Per’ in Latin means through, over, across, by means of or beyond. Some words and phrases of the similar root are per annum, per capita, and persuade. The word in the third-person singular simple present form is persues, in present participle form is pursuing and in simple past and past participle form is persued.

Persue means to consider, examine or study something with full attention to minute details. An example sentence would be “The officers received the file to persue the case”. Another meaning of persue is to look or read something in a casual, informal, relaxed or leisurely way. An example sentence is “I will persue a detective novel while traveling”.

The word is not considered valid in most dictionaries and is regarded as a misspelling. To achieve, chase or pursue something, it is essential to persue the details. Some examples of sentences are “He wanted me to take some time to persue the several related domains “, or “She failed to recognize that hard work was the only way to persue the goals”.

Main Differences Between Pursue and Persue

  1. Pursue is a widely used verb and found in English dictionary whereas persue is an obsolete form of the verb and not found in the English dictionary.
  2. Pursue can be used as a transitive as well as an intransitive verb whereas persue is a transitive verb in third person form.
  3. Pursue signifies active participation and concentration in the action while persue signifies passive participation in the action.
  4. Pursue is a new word while persue is an old word and considered as an old spelling of ‘pursue’.
  5. Pursue has a specific intent and determination to capture or chase something while persue does not have any specific or particular intent of capturing or chasing a goal.

Conclusion

Pursue and persue are commonly confused words. Both the words sound similar and are often used in similar contexts. Though pursue is a widely accepted word and has prominence in the English language while persue is no more accepted and is considered as an old form of the original word ‘pursue’.

Both the words are verbs. Both the words express follow of something or someone but the intent and determination are different in both words. The words have a different origin. Persue is no more present in the English dictionary and most of the spelling and grammar check software regard it as a misspelling of the original word ‘pursue’.

References

  1. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-DQSY200802037.htm
  2. https://search.informit.org/doi/abs/10.3316/ielapa.034417653928771
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