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# What is fifty per cent of twenty pounds?

10 pounds. The word "percent" (%) comes from the Latin "per centum", which means "for every hundred". 10 pounds is fifty percent of 20 pounds, because 10 is half of 20, and 50 is half of 100. Percentages make fractions easier to visualise, because they express proportions of 100, or to put that another way, the percentage is the number of hundredths the fraction is equivalent to. For example, which is bigger: three eights (3/8) or one third (1/3)? This is easier to see if we express each fraction as a percentage. 3/8 is 37.5 percent (100*3/8), and 1/3 is 33.3 percent (100*1/3). In other words, 3/8 is 37.5 hundredths, and 1/3 is 33.3 hundredths. From this, we can see easily that 3/8 is more than 1/3. For percentages of 20 pounds, each hundredth is worth 0.2 (20/100) pounds. So fifty percent (fifty hundredths) is worth 0.2 * 50 = 10 pounds. In this case the answer is very easy anyway, because fifty percent of something is always half of it, and half of 20 pounds is 10 pounds.

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