An ancient answer how to find percentage
Before we proceed with the vital question how to find percentage, let’s get familiar with the term first. Of course, like many other folks you’ve heard this word «percentage» many times. Well, literally, it stands for «per one hundred pieces» of anything. That’s just one way to specify the fraction of one solid entity. Human beings are used to denoting it by the corresponding percent sign «%».
Percentage is normally utilized to compare quantities relative to each other. For instance, how small or large this particular quantity relates to the other. For instance, there’re 50% boys in a class of up to 200 students. We figure out that’s exactly 25% of the students are boys, respectively the rest 75% are girls. You can actually write it as simply 25%, 25/100 or even 0.25, however, the first variant is more preferable. Ok, you’ve just gotten familiar with the term, now let’s see how people use it in the past.
Long before the existence of the decimal system, in ancient Rome, computations were often carried out in fractions, including multiples of 1/100. For instance, Augustus decided to levy a tax of about 1/100 on sold goods at auction dubbed «centesima rerum venalium.» Computation with these fractions had much common with computing percentages. Additionally, as in the Middle Ages denominations of money grew, computations with a denominator of one hundred became a standard option. It became rather a common method to quote interest rate in hundredths by the 17th century.
By the way, the term «per cent» descends from the Latin word «per centum,» which means «by the hundred.» Later on, «per» became simply «p» and then disappeared completely. As for the «cento», it was shortened to what you already know – «%». If you keep reading, you’ll learn how to find percentage for sure.
How humans got it: an alternative version
We’ve haven’t finished yet with the history of percentage. So, before we move to how to find percentage, let’s see at its history from an unusual angle. The historical background mentioned here below will definitely help you to remember the very essence of percentage.
Now your imagination takes you back in time. Just close your eyes, relax and start traveling in time. Let’s assume you’ve just stopped your time machine approximately 800 years ago. At this time schooling is unavailable to ordinary people. By the way, they don’t live longer than 30 years, while even their kids have to work from morning till night to support their poor families. Today’s history classifies this time as «the dark ages».
During the dark ages, people didn’t know germs could provoke a variety of serious health disorders. Someday, having worked hard in the field, a person feels that there’s something wrong with his body. He’s burning up with fever and his stomach is literally turning inside out. The poor man keeps vomiting and his bowels are no longer under his control.
After a tough fever, coma comes and on the third day the person dies. Needless to say, all the members of his family are frightened and shocked. The family wants to know what killed that man. That’s so sad they didn’t have the basic scientific knowledge to explain this horrible incident. They just need one solid reason and nothing else, and that’s where superstition arises.
In this particular case, the family is assured that a cunning demon should be blamed for that man’s death. The demon turned into a black bird and flew over the poor man working in the field and placed the curse of death upon him.
After the incident, the members of the victim’s family start killing every black bird on their way. Apart from that, when working in the field they stuff their ears with wool not to hear that death’s call, flying over them.
Ok, you may wonder how percentage could fit into all this weird stuff mentioned above. It’s time to disclose the mystery. We’re getting closer to an intriguing question how to find percentage.
Even in those gloomy dark ages, the vast majority of people were absolutely ignorant and vulnerable to superstition and prejudices, not everybody was indeed. In reality, one small group of people boasted true knowledge. They were specially selected to control the masses by simply keeping them uneducated and ignorant. These people knew for sure that the masses were used to believing anything they were told especially when influenced by fear. At that times ordinary people were used to believe so called authority figures or simply powerful persons.
Perhaps, you might have guessed who they were. Sure, these were priests. In order to keep ignorant people under their strict control, they informed terrible things would occur because of evil demons. There was the only way to keep cruel demons away. The priests persuaded people to provide them with their allegiance, money, labor, food as well as other desired resources. That was the necessary price to scare away evil demons. The priests simply prayed and people believed that demons would leave.
Now to keep people absolutely ignorant about math and money, the priests told them numbers of any kind were invented by the devil. The priests forbid people to discuss mathematical or matters. Of course, «disobedience» would make demons angry. Indeed, people were assured that by simply saying that two plus five is seven they would find themselves in hell.
It’s so sad none could sell any goods in this culture. If a merchant announced his price in public he would be beaten up for pronouncing forbidden numbers. At that time the only acceptable form of exchange was barter, so people were allowed to exchange their thing for another.
Finally, peddlers were fed up with the terrible ignorance of their potential customers, so they made up their mind to neutralize superstition with their own superstition. They created a special symbol casting the devil out of every number. You’re definitely thrilled and eager to learn how to find percentage.
Those quickwitted merchants told people that God had unveiled them this symbol in multiple dreams. It was God who dubbed it «percent,» that good sword against the mighty devil. Then, to scare away evil spirits one required to say «percent» after the newly pronounced number or write «percent» on a piece of paper right after the desired number.
The medieval peddlers decided to let percent stand for one cent. Respectively, if they were eager to get 50 cents for one piece of cloth, they would announce: «50 percent».
So, initially, percent was just one cent. However, if you find terms of fractions more suitable, you can remind yourself that cent is 1/100 and it’s also percent.
It’s hard to understate the whole importance of percent for the dark ages. Percent helped commerce to thrive and then the Protestant reformation joined. The church started losing its power over the masses and the Renaissance took control of minds.
A brief guide: how to find percentage
You’ve been patient enough, listening to this old story, so you deserve a decent piece of sacred knowledge. Right now, we’re going to teach you how to find percentage.
First, let’s brush up the theory, we’ve just learnt and make it clear. As the name suggests, percent is per 100. Respectively, 10% stands for 10 per 100. That’s the same as 10/100.
There’s no doubt, it’s a great prompt, since it drastically simplifies the entire process. From this moment any person can easy calculate percentage. Really, nothing prevents you to calculate 10% of literally any number because it’s 1/10 of it. To be exact, you only require moving the decimal point one position to the left to instantly calculate 10% of any number.
And what about calculating something more difficult, such as 25% or 36%, 20% or 250%? Unfortunately, in these cases we no longer have an opportunity to utilize the whole power of 10%. We definitely require an alternative solution.
In this particular case it would be a good thing to take for granted that x percent of y is the same thing as y percent of x. Sure, it may see seem weird to you, but on the other hand it’s very simple and it works. Ok, as follows from the rule mentioned above, 25% of 36 is the same as 36% of 25. You still don’t know, how this could help you, do you? Since, 25% is 1/4, accordingly, 25% of 36 is 36/4 or simply 9. If 25% of 36 is 9, then 36% of 25 is also 9.
That’s a beautiful trick, isn’t it? When using it, each time you’re solving one problem, you’re actually solving two. It’s especially good, when one of the problems is much easier to tackle than the other.
Now, let’s take just one minute to see why this amazing magical trick works. We’ve just told above, that 36% is the same as 36/100. You can write 1/100 in the form of the decimal number 0.01. Respectively, it makes sense to convert 36/100 into 0.01 multiplied by 36. It means that 36% of 25 should be absolutely equal to 25 multiplied by the product of 0.01 and 36. You’ve almost learnt everything as for how to find percentage.
Now it’s time to have some fun. In simple terms, the associative property of multiplication informs us that we are free to multiply several numbers in any order we appreciate. For instance, the product of 0.01 and 36 multiplied by 25 is the product of 0.01 and 25 multiplied by 36. However, 0.01 multiplied by 25 is 25%, and it means that it’s equal to 25% of 36, and 36% of 25 is equal to 25% of 36. Of course, it has nothing to do with magic, it’s pure math. Nevertheless, it sounds fantastic. Perhaps, those ancient priests were right calling this stuff evil.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the second example, which is 250% of 20. In accordance with our rule, 250% of 20 should be equal to 20% of 250. Ok, considering 20% is just 2 multiplied by 10%, and we know that it’s not difficult to find 10% of any number by simply dividing it by ten, 10% of 250 is 250/10 or simply 25. Respectively, 20% of 250 should be 50 (2 multiplied by 25). Following our rule, we’ve just proven the fact that 20% of 250 is equal to 50, while 250% of 20 is 50 too. We hope you aren’t fed up with learning how to find percentage
However, we should wait for some time to figure out what we mean by saying that 250% of 20 is equal to 50. Well, 36% is equivalent to 36/100 and that’s also true that 250% corresponds to 250/100. The meaning of percent hasn’t changed since ancient times, and 250% still stands for 250 per 100.
Finally, we should discover the very essence of percentages exceeding 100%. That’s a typical misconception that it makes no sense to discuss percentages greater than 100, as it feels like it’s absolutely unreal to have more than a whole of any stuff. You’ll be shocked to hear this, but you can exceed this number! For instance, that’s quite reasonable to discuss 1.5 of something, and that’s the same as 150% of it. Accordingly, 2 corresponds to 200% in this case.
Just keep in mind that anything, which is less that 100% of anything will always be smaller than the original, respectively, anything exceeding 100% will surpass the original. That’s what you should know about how to find percentage.
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