   SEARCH HOME Math Central Quandaries & Queries  Question from Asher: Question: Is there an equation to find what percent of 0 is 1? I remember learning quite a long time ago that the answer inst 0 and it isn't infinity. I'm pretty sure it was something like %=0 approaching infinity or %=1 approaching infinity. And I know it depends what value you assign the numbers i.e. dollars or temperature. Furthermore, is asking "what percent 1 dollar is of 0 dollars" the same question as "what percent profit do you make from selling something worth 0 dollars for 1 dollar." Thank you for your time and consideration -Asher Hi Asher,

Suppose the question was What percent of 12 is 3? The answer would be

$\frac{3}{12} \times 100 = 25$

so 3 is 25% of 12.

But the question is What percent of 0 is 1? Following the same procedure the answer is

$\frac{1}{0} \times 100.$

But division by zero is not a permissible operation so this expression is meaningless. There is no numerical answer to the question What percent of 0 is 1?

For your question about profit suppose you purchased an item for $\$9$and you sold it for$\$12.$ Your profit is them $\$12 - \$9 = \$3.\$ Profit, expressed as a percent is the profit as a percentage of the selling price. Hence in this case the profit is

$\frac{\3}{\12} \times 100 = 25 \mbox{ or 25%.}$

Hence if you purchased something for 0 dollar and sold it for 1 dollar you profit would be 100%.

I hope this helps,
Penny     Math Central is supported by the University of Regina and The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.