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I’ve had a love affair through words and also grammar pretty much my entire life. Math? no so much. It’s useful, yes. Vital too. But having to apply it is favor going to the dentist — something I need to do also if I’m less than thrilled around it. For this reason it’s with the greater good in mental that ns tackle the use of percent, percentage, percentage points and also related questions. You welcome.

You are watching: How to write percent in words

Percent vs. Percentage

Although some resources (the mercurial Merriam-Webster’s being among them) indicate that percent and percentage room interchangeable, the an ext traditional strategy is to usage percent v a number and also percentage v no number:

A surprisingly high percentage of college freshmen fall out.

More 보다 25 percent of university freshmen drop out.

No format guide the we understand of supports utilizing numerals v percentage. For that reason, the following construction is incorrect:

The percentage of college freshmen who drop the end is greater than 25.

You’d either need to include “percent” at the end of the sentence or rewrite to prevent using “percentage/percent” in the exact same sentence. The latter method is preferable but not constantly possible, together in sports stories. Because that example:

Tater and also Tot had the highest ar goal percentages because that the night, shooting 63 and 68 percent, respectively.

Percent vs. Portion Points

Suppose you encounter the following news item:

Interest prices jumped from 6 to 9 percent.

Would friend say attention rates increased by 3 percent or by 3 percentage points? The latter is correct. Here’s why …

Percent adjust is the proportion of two values (the difference in between the new value and also the old value, divided by the old value). Using the over example, (9-6)/6 = .50. So you can correctly say either of the following:

Interest rates increased by 50 percent.

Interest rates enhanced by 3 portion points.

The easy means to mental which ax to usage is this: If you’re simply subtracting one portion from one more (9% – 6%), use percentage points to talk around the difference.

Words vs. Symbols

Whether to spell the end percent or use the % prize is mostly a issue of style, together is making use of numerals matches spelling out the number values.

The Chicago manual of Style, for instance, claims that percent is usually provided in nontechnical contexts, while % is more common in scientific and also statistical copy. Numerals are used in all instances with percent other than at the start of a sentence.

The AP Stylebook always spells out percent due to the fact that the symbol no translate between AP and also newspaper computers. It also always uses numerals with percent except in ~ the beginning of a sentence.

Both the AMA and APA layout guides speak to use % through numerals in all situations except at the start of a sentence.

Some clients have their own style. The important allude is to apply whatever format you choose consistently.

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