Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from chris:

38 is what percent of 400?

Hi Chris,

Your question is almost an equation. read "is" as equals and "what" as the unknown, call it $x.$ "percent" is per 100 or over 100. What about "of"? $\large \frac13 \normalsize \mbox{of } 12$ is $\large \frac13\normalsize \times 12 = 4$ and $\large \frac15\normalsize \mbox{of } 30$ is $\large \frac15\normalsize \times 30 = 6$ so "of" seems to stand for multiplication. Thus with this translation your question becomes

\[38 = \frac{x}{100} \times 400.\]

Solve for $x.$


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