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How to Pronounce a Fraction of a Percentage

Date: 07/07/2005 at 18:24:47
From: Lee Ann
Subject: Fractions of Percentages

Is it correct to say "one tenth of one percent" as opposed to saying
"one tenth percent" for 0.1%?  Why or why not?

It seems wrong to refer to a percentage as a fraction of a percentage,
but news people and the financial industry do it all the time.  I 
can't seem to find out what the precedence is for this.

Date: 07/07/2005 at 22:46:10
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Fractions of Percentages

Hi, Lee Ann.

Both mean the same thing; neither is wrong.  The reason for the longer
phrase is probably the usual reason for using a longer phrase: to
avoid ambiguity or possible confusion.  Many people are not quite 
clear on what percentages mean, and might well take "one-tenth 
percent" as if it were just "one-tenth" (which, of course, is really 
10%).  So people tend to expand it to make it clear that they are 
using BOTH a fraction AND a percent; that is,

  0.1% = 1/10 * 1% = 1/10 * 1/100 = 1/1000

I suppose you could compare this to using "a quarter OF A dollar" or
"twenty-five hundredths OF a dollar", rather than just reading "$0.25"
as "a quarter dollar" or "twenty-five hundredths dollars".

If you have any further questions, feel free to write back.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum 

Date: 07/11/2005 at 16:42:43
From: Lee Ann
Subject: Thank you (Fractions of Percentages)

Thanks for the very clear answer!
Associated Topics:
Elementary Fractions
Middle School Fractions
Middle School Square Roots

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