Percent or Percentage?Date: 05/14/2002 at 11:31:37 From: Deb Rafter Subject: Percents Would you please explain the exact difference between the words percent and percentage? I have used textbooks that use them as if they are the same. I have have always explained it as percent is a % and percentage is a number that is the same unit as the base number. Thank You, Deb Raf Date: 05/14/2002 at 12:28:32 From: Doctor Sarah Subject: Re: Percents Hi Deb - thanks for writing to Dr. Math. You're on the right track, and even a regular dictionary can help with this. percent - one part in a hundred percentage - a part of a whole expressed in hundredths; the result obtained by multiplying a number by a percent From the Guide to Grammar and Writing on the Web ("Notorious Confusables"): http://ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/notorious2.htm "We use the word percent as part of a numerical expression (e.g., Only two percent of the students failed.). We use the word percentage to suggest a portion (e.g., The percentage of students who fail has decreased.)." Unfortunately, you will find percent and percentage incorrectly used everywhere on the Web and in textbooks. - Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Date: 04/10/2003 at 09:48:22 From: Julie Bellows Subject: Percent versus percentage Is there a difference between the meaning of these two words, or are they totally interchangeable? I always thought the word percent required the correct notation using the symbol % and that percentage was referred to as AN AMOUNT BASED ON A GIVEN TOTAL, NOT NECESSARILY BASED ON 100. For example: Given 4/16 The percentage is 4 out of a total of 16, the percent is 25% Date: 04/10/2003 at 11:07:01 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Percent versus percentage Hi, Julie. To answer your specific question, I would say "the fraction used is 4 out of 16; the percentage is 25% [read as 25 percent]." That is, both "percent" and "percentage" refer to an amount "out of 100" (since that is what "per cent" means), and the only difference is how they are used in a sentence. We (should) use "percent" only in phrases like "25 percent" where it can be directly replaced by the phrase "out of 100"; we use "percentage" as a name for the concept. My American Heritage dictionary has this usage note: _Percent_ and _percentage_ are both used to express quantity with relation to a whole. _Percent_ is employed only specifically and always with a number or numeral. _Percentage_ is never preceded by such a figure, but should be qualified by a general term to indicate size (since _percentage_ does not necessarily imply smallness). The number of the noun that follows _percent_ or _percentage_, or is understood to follow them, governs the choice of the verb: _Forty percent of his estate is in securities. A large percentage of the patients are children._ If you have any further questions, feel free to write back. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
Search the Dr. Math Library: |
[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Ask Dr. Math^{TM}
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/