Symbols are
a
concise way of
giving lengthy
instructions,
related to
Math Symbols are
a communication
tool. Symbols are an
invention which is
used to eliminate
the need to write
long, plain language
instructions to
describe
calculations and
other processes.
The
most important, most
frequently used
Miscellaneous
symbols are listed
below.
Math Symbol for
"Percent"

To understand
the % sign, ask
yourself the
following four
questions:
(1)
What
does the % sign
mean?
. . .
A
%
is used
to
compare
a
number
(any
number)
to
100
using
division.
Under normal
circumstances,
all
numbers are
compared to
the number 1
using
division.
For example,
the number 3 is
only a 3 when
it is compared
to the number 1
using
division.
It is three
times as big as
the number
1.
However, a %
does not use
the number 1
for comparison
purposes.
A %
is used to
compare
a number
(any number)
to
100
using
division.
Continuing on
with the number
3 compared to
the number 1 as
an example, the
result is:
(Note that the
quotient must
still equal 3.
The number 300
is three times
as big as
100.)
The final
percentage
is:
3 =
300%
. . .
Any
Number
can be
converted to a
percent
You can
complete a
short
calculation
similar to the
example shown
above, or . .
.
. . . Just move
the decimal
point to the
right by two
places.
(2)
Where
is a % symbol
used?
. . .
A %
symbol is
only
used to
represent a
proportion.
A
percent tells
you that you
are dealing
with a
ratio
, or relative
comparison
(using
division).
Although any
number can be
converted into
a %, percents
are only used
to represent
ratios
(proportions).
. . .
What is
the
point of
converting
a ratio to a
%
?
Is there any
advantage to
saying 5.6%
instead of
.056?
Read on . .
.
(3)
How
is a % symbol
used in
everyday
life?
. . .
There are
thousands
and thousands
of
applications
where the
concept of a
percent is used
every day.
The fact that a
percent
represents a
proportion (a
relative
comparison) is
what makes
valuable.
Here are some
common
examples
:
. . .
Sales
Tax
. . .
When you pay a
sales tax, the
tax rate will
be stated as a
%
.
If the sales
tax rate is 8%,
this means that
you will pay
the government
a tax of 8
dollars
for
every
100
dollars you
spend.
If you spend
$100, you owe a
tax of $8. If
you spend $200,
you owe tax of
$16. If you
spend $50, you
owe a tax of
$4. If you
spend $25, you
owe a tax of
$2, and so on.
The sales tax
you owe is
always the same
proportion of
what you spend
(in these
examples it is
8% of what you
spend).
. . .
Bank
Interest
. . .
If you deposit
money in a
bank, the
interest the
bank will pay
on your account
will be stated
as a
%
.
If the interest
rate is 5%
(simple annual
interest), this
means that the
bank will pay
you 5 dollars
for
every
$100 you
leave in your
account for one
year.
If you leave a
$100 deposit in
the bank for
two years, you
will receive
$10 ($5 per
year). If you
leave a $100
deposit in the
bank for only
six months, you
will receive
$2.50, and so
on. The amount
your deposit
earns is always
the same
proportion.
. . .
Credit
Card
Interest
. . .
If you use a
credit card,
the interest
you pay on the
outstanding
balance you owe
will be stated
as a
%
.
If the interest
rate is 20%
(simple annual
interest), this
means that you
pay the credit
card company an
extra 20
dollars per
year
for
every
$100 of
unpaid
debt.
. . .
Test
Grades in
School
. . .
Test grades in
school are
often stated as
a %
.
If a student
has a test
average of 81%,
this means that
for
every
100
questions the
student answers
on his or her
tests, 81
questions are
answered
correctly.
. . .
Slope of
a railroad
track
. . .
Slope (the
incline of the
tracks) is
often stated as
a %
.
If a slope of a
railroad track
is a 5% grade,
this means that
for
every
100 feet
of horizontal
distance the
tracks drop (or
increase) 5
feet in
elevation.
. . .
Survey
(Poll)
. . .
Survey results
are often
stated as a
%
.
If a survey
found that 75%
of restaurant
patrons
preferred a
certain type of
food, this
means that
for
every
100
people, 75
people prefer
that type of
food.
(4)
What
math
symbols can be
mistaken for a
% sign
?
. . .
Per
mille .
. .
. . . The
Per mille
symbol is
not
equivalent
to a
Percent
symbol.
1 % (percent)
means 1 part in
100.
1
(per
mille)
means 1
part in
1000.
. . .
Basis
point .
. .
. . . The
Basis point
symbol is
not
equivalent
to a
Percent
symbol.
1 % (percent)
means 1 part in
100.
1
(basis
point)
means 1
part in
10,000.
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