Introduction to Percentages


What is the meaning of the term percent?

We all have come across the term percent or percentage in several areas of our daily lives. Be it in the house or in the malls or even on food cans. Likewise, we have all come across the symbol that denotes percentage and maybe you have wondered what the term percent means. In this lesson on percentages we are going to learn what the term percent means and why we use it so often in our day to day lives.



To define the term percent, let us first look at the "cent" part of the term. What is a cent? Let us use an example using a dollar. One dollar is made up of 100 cents. This can therefore mean that 1 cent is equal to one hundredth of a dollar, which is 1/100. If you remember our previous fraction lesson you will remember that when we say 1/100 we mean that it is one part out of a hundred parts. Therefore 1 percent is one part out of a hundred parts. To understand this better, let us look at a few examples.

Example 1

Define 5 percent.

To solve this problem, you must keep in mind that a percentage is a fraction whose denominator is always one hundred. From the above example of a dollar, we learnt that one percent means one part out of a hundred parts. Therefore five percent is basically 5 parts out of a hundred parts.

The term percentage can be replaced by the percent symbol. That is, instead of writing 5 percent, we can write it as 5%.

Let's look at another example.

Example 2

What is a hundred percent?



By now, we know that a percentage is a way of expressing a fraction whose denominator is one hundred. Therefore, if we're to write the above percentage as a fraction, we would get 100/100 as our fraction.

Going with our earlier definition, one hundred percent would mean a hundred parts of a hundred parts. Imagine you had a gigantic cake and you divided it into a hundred parts. Then you give all the hundred parts to one kid. The cake as a whole is made up of a hundred pieces and if you give them out you therefore gave out the whole cake. A hundred percent would therefore mean the whole thing.

In simpler words, percent basically means that, if you have something percent e.g. X% it means that something divided by one hundred i.e. X/100.

In our daily lives, we use the term percentage to mean similar thing. A person may say that they will give whatever they are doing their hundred percent. This means that they are going to give their very best and wholeheartedly do it. Keep in mind that, a hundred percent is the biggest percentage you can have of one whole.

That was a brief introduction to percentages. Remember that, a percentage is a part of a hundred.


Resource

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