“Percent” Vs. “Percentage” – Correct Usage (With Examples)

Marcus Froland

Are you wondering about the difference between ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’? Do you want to know how to use them correctly? If so, this article will provide examples of both words and explain the rules for using them accurately.

Additionally, it will include common errors to avoid when using these terms.

Read on to learn more!

Key Takeaways

  • ‘Percent’ is used when referring to a single number, while ‘percentage’ refers to two numbers in comparison with each other.
  • ‘Percent’ expresses parts per hundred, while ‘percentage’ is a way of expressing a fraction of 100.
  • ‘Percent’ is often used to express changes or ratios, while ‘percentage’ is used to compare fractions and quantify amounts.
  • Both ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’ describe a proportion or ratio out of one hundred, and can be used interchangeably in most cases.

What Is the Difference

The main difference between ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’ is their usage.

‘Percent’ is used when referring to a single number, like ‘I received a 90 percent on my exam.’ This means that the subject achieved a score of 90 out of 100 points.

Conversely, ‘percentage’ refers to two numbers in comparison with each other, such as ‘My exam score increased by five percentage points’ meaning the subject’s score went from 85/100 to 90/100.

Examples of ‘Percent’

With school closures, many parents are seeing a 50% drop in childcare costs. This means that the cost of childcare has been reduced by half.

Percent is an expression of parts per hundred – it is often used to express changes or ratios. For example, if your salary increased from $50,000 to $60,000, you would have seen an increase of 20%. Similarly, if the price of a product decreased from $20 to $15, then the percentage decrease is 25%.

In both cases, percent is used as a measure of comparison between two different values. It can also be used to compare one value with another absolute value; for example, if 90 out of 100 people reported satisfaction with a product, then we could say that there was 90% satisfaction.

Examples of ‘Percentage’

A percentage is a way of expressing a fraction of 100. For example, if you were to describe the amount of water in your glass as 50%, it means that half the glass is filled with water.

Similarly, if you wanted to express how much time you spend on studying compared to playing video games, you could say that you study 80% of the time and play for 20%. In this case, 80% would be four times more than 20%.

You can also use percentages to compare different quantities. If one person has 15 apples and another person has 6 apples, then the first person has 150% more apples than the second person.

To summarize, percentages are an easy way to compare fractions and quantify amounts.

Rules for Using ‘Percent’ and ‘Percentage’

You need to be aware of the rules for using ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’:

  • They are both used to describe a proportion or ratio out of one hundred.

  • When speaking, use ‘percent’ instead of ‘percentage’. For example, say ‘It was a twenty percent increase’.

  • When writing, you can use either form. For example, you can write ‘We saw a 20% increase’.

  • However, when beginning a sentence with either word, always add in the full word. For example, write ‘Percentage-wise, it was an impressive result’.

Knowing these rules will help you accurately and concisely express your ideas in written or spoken form.

Common Errors and How to Avoid Them

Making mistakes when using ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’ is common, but with a bit of practice, you can learn to avoid them.

It’s important to remember that both words have the same meaning, so they’re interchangeable in most cases. However, there are some exceptions.

For example, many people incorrectly use ‘percentage point’ instead of ‘percentage points’. The correct form should be used when referring to changes in numbers or rates. For instance, ‘the inflation rate rose by three percentage points.’

Also, you should avoid using ‘percents’, which isn’t considered proper English. Instead, say or write “three percent” (not “three percents”).

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to accurately use ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’.


No matter which one you use, it’s important to be sure you understand the difference between ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’. By using examples and following the rules for correct usage, you can make sure that your writing is accurate and clear.

Remember to avoid common mistakes like forgetting to include a number when using ‘percent’, or mixing up ‘percent’ and ‘percentage’.

With practice, you’ll soon be confidently using these words in all of your writing!