Point-three (of a) percent

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Jun 27 18:35:02 UTC 2004

As renditions of '.3%' or '0.3%', both 'point-three of a percent' and the bare
'point-three percent' sound fine to my Standard Southern British ear.

Figures below one bring up something else that still looks strange to me after a
year living in the States, though (though it isn't necessarily connected to how
the figure is rendered in speech, clearly).  That is that I still can't write
'.3%' and think it looks normal;  it has to be '0.3%', though I can see the
logic of omitting the '0' (it makes tables of figures below one easier to
interpret, for one thing).

Correspondingly, I can say 'Nought point three (of a) percent' and it sounds
fine, though I think it is slightly more usual (for me, at least) to omit the
'nought' in speech.  Maybe that's because I often have to say figures below
one, as anyone who ever deals with stats does, and the 'nought' is unnecessary
to convey the meaning if you're going to say the 'point' anyway.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

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