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What does % mean?

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin

The symbol % is a combination of the two zeros from 100 and the sign / which means “out of”. So % means “out of one hundred”.

This can be quite misleading for learners because in most contexts the percentage operates on a quantity that is not 100, e.g. Find 35% of $86 means you are actually working with $86 not $100.

Another way to look at it is through the word “percent”. Per means “for every” and cent is the prefix for 100, like a century is 100 years or 100 runs. So percent means for every hundred.


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