Difference Between Percent and Percentage in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

When describing information presented in graphs, tables or pie charts, it is necessary to use language specifying amount, and the language of comparison.

Language specifying amount

The two words, per cent and percentage, are commonly used when specifying factual information in graphs, tables or pie charts. These words, however, are often confused or misused. The differences in meaning and use are as follows;



  • Specifies an amount for or in every hundred
  • Can be used as a noun, adjective or adverb
  • In formal writing use percent, rather than the “%” sign
  • Use percent with the number for example: It is predicted that house prices will rise five percent over the year.


  • Specifies an amount for or in every hundred; this is not the same as a total number.
  • Used as a noun
  • Percentage can be followed by either a singular or plural noun for example: A small percentage of the state’s budget is used for infrastructure.
  • A large percentage of the buildings in that street will be demolished.


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