Do you write out 100 percent?

HomeWriting TipsPercent, Per Cent and Percentages2-minute read26th March 2018Percent, Per Cent and PercentagesWeve been told that putting 110% into anything is mathematically impos

Do you write out 100 percent?
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Writing Tips - Percent, Per Cent and Percentages
  • 2-minute read
  • 26th March 2018

Percent, Per Cent and Percentages

Weve been told that putting 110% into anything is mathematically impossible. But were proofreaders, not mathematicians! As such, were not going to let math get in the way of putting everything we have into solving your writing problems. Today, for example, were looking at writing percentages.

Words and Numbers

As with any numbers, percentages can be written as either words or numbers:

Words: Around nine percent of people dislike coffee.

Numbers: Approximately 91% of people like coffee.

The examples above reflect three important guidelines when writing percentages:

  • Numbers up to ten are usually written as words, while larger numbers are written as numerals
  • When a percentage is written as a word, it should be followed by percent
  • When a percentage is written as a numeral, it should be followed by the % sign

However, this can vary depending on the context (e.g., measurements in scientific writing are almost always written as numerals, even for numbers under ten). Its therefore a good idea to check your style guide for advice on how to write percentages.

Percent vs. Per Cent

The question were asked most often about writing percentages is whether to use percent or per cent. Ultimately, though, this doesnt really matter: both are accepted spellings of this term.

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Again, we recommend checking your style guide if you have one, as some publishers and colleges have a preference. And percent is much more common these days than per cent. But other than that, the main thing is picking one spelling and using it consistently throughout your work.

Percent vs. per cent

When to Use Percentage

Finally, we have the word percentage. Although similar to percent, this word has a slightly different usage: Percent is used with specific numbers, while percentage is used when referring to a general or non-specific amount of something. For example:

A small percentage of the forms were coffee stained.

Almost seven percent of the forms were coffee stained.

As shown above, you should use percentage when the exact amount is unspecified.

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