Percent vs Percentage
One word that we hear most commonly in our daily lives in news and current affairs programs on TV or analytical articles in newspapers is percentage. The word comes from Latin per cent meaning per hundred, which means that it is a fraction of 100. It is perhaps one of the most useful mathematical concepts to quickly understand statistical analyses. Whether it is used to refer to a number of people susceptible to a particular disease in a population or the marks obtained by a student in his exams, percentage or percent makes it a lot easier to understand the numbers involved. So if the total number of marks obtained by a student out of a maximum 100 is 68, it is said that he has obtained 68% marks, which is a clear indicator of his performance. % is the universal symbol of percent. There are many who remain confused between percent and percentage. This article tries to differentiate between these two closely interrelated concepts.
People have become so used to reading the word percent or percentage that they do not need any explanation after hearing that inflation has increased by a 3 percentage points in the last month or that rate of unemployment stands at 11 percent today. Talking of words percent and percentage, they are similar in meaning and the only difference lies in their usage. For example, the word percent is always used when it is preceded by a numeral. Look at following examples.
I am one hundred percent sure that this figure is wrong.
75 percent of boys failed to satisfy the attendance criterion.
On the other hand, percentage is used without a numeral preceding it, as in the following sentence:
Percentage of girls joining armed forces has increased considerably.
Another point of differentiation lies in the fact that the symbol % can be used to replace percent in a sentence, while it cannot be used in place of percentage.