# Episode 8

【✏ Writing-Wise Series ✒】

[Standardized English exams]

In some situations, the statistics 📊 we meet, especially in pie charts, are presented in terms of percentages. The situation might become more complicated when it comes to their increases and decreases.

Consider this example: a number decreased from its highest point 30% to the lowest point 24% within a certain period.

Obviously, I don’t need to write you sentences involving “from” to “to”, the difference between which was discussed in the previous issue, but notice these two sentences concerning the change:

🔵 The number decreased by 20 percent / 20%.

🟢 The number decreased by 6 percentage points / 6 percent points.

Why are there two different numbers? Then please notice the difference between “percent” and “percentage point”:

⚠ “percent” means “百分比” or “百分數” in Chinese: here, 24% is 80 percent of the original 30%, so the amount of decrease was 20% [(30% – 24%) ¸ 30% = 20%]. In other words, the difference in the level was 6% (0.06), which is, mathematically, one-fifth (20%) of the original level of 30% (0.3).

⚠ “percentage point” or “percent point” means “百分點” in Chinese, which means the number in front of the “%” symbol. Therefore, the amount of decrease in front of the “%” symbol, i.e. the degree of the percentage points was 6 [30% – 24% = 6%]. In Chinese, “6 percentage points” is said as “6個百分點”.

Then, let me consolidate your understanding with this example:

💰 In 2022, a corporation spent $10 million on employees’ salaries, which was 16% of the whole company’s expenses. Then, in 2023, the spending on employees’ salaries was increased to $15 million, 20% of the expenditure of this company in this year.

1️⃣ The proportion spent by the company on employees’ salaries increased by _____ percent.

2️⃣ The proportion spent by the company on employees’ salaries increased by _____ percentage points.

3️⃣ The amount earned by all employees increased by _____ percent.

4️⃣ The amount earned by all employees increased by _____ percentage points.

(N.B. 1. One-word “percent” is usually used in American English while two-word “percent” is in traditional British English.)

(N.B. 2. The answers to the first three blanks in the issue should be 1️⃣ 25 [(20% – 16%) ¸ 16% = 25%], 2️⃣ 4 [20% – 16% = 4%] and 3️⃣ 50 [(15 million – 10 million) ¸ 10 million = 50%] respectively. However, no number can be filled into the blank in 4️⃣ just because the amount, i.e. monetary value, was not presented in terms of “%” in this example.)