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### 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/
```
Associated Topics:
Elementary Definitions
Elementary Fractions

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