Share and percentage calculation

Coincidentally, on June 6 this year, both the print and audiovisual media focused enough to address in this space the inappropriate way in which the words mentioned in the title of these notes are sometimes used. . First of all, he drew attention to the statement from a Bucharest daily that reported that “the share in GDP is consumption”. The appeal to the word “weight”, without specifying the related arithmetic values ​​says… nothing. It matters how much the “weight” is in any case to which I refer: is it high? is small? is it, for example, 0.1% or up to almost 100%? Usually, formulations such as the one quoted aim to identify a component element of the total, which holds most or the most important part of that whole. However, it is clear that, in the absence of clarifications on the order of magnitude, the expression is incorrect.

On the same subject, in a specialized magazine, readers’ attention is drawn to the fact that “the IT sector can be a potential winner of a place on the podium of contributions to GDP growth”. Or, when words like “maybe”, “possible”, “appears as a possibility” are used, the meaning of the notion of “potential” is included – so to speak – organic. The “potential” always indicates a certain possibility. In addition, the phrase quoted is – also – elliptical, when it refers to the “podium of contributions”. The “contributions” are obviously closely linked to the notion of “weight”, and the “podium” visit there are some tops of the rankings, which requires clarification on the size of those contributions (“weights”).

In the same vein, a TV show revealed that “it is remarkable the increase of the industry’s contribution as an additional share of GDP”. The error also consists in the pleonastic expression because – in this case – “contribution” and “weight” define the same fact. Likewise, in a radio show, it was repeated several times, both in terms of resources and use of GDP, that “the percentage increase was … percent.” What does “percentage calculation” mean, if not a part of a hundred? This pleonasm is so widespread not only in current speech, but also in the journalistic text, so we are dealing with an extraordinary resistance to error. Any number related to a solution of a certain percentage calculation , which certifies that they have words, used in the same sentence, presenting a pure pleonasm.

Another radio station stated that “the growth rate recorded in terms of consumption was calculated to determine the share of this branch in total GDP.” On the one hand, being a “calculation”, it is imposed using the notions of “percentage”, and the growth rate does not indicate the “weight”, which is expressed by the ratio to the whole, respectively to a hundred.

Let’s remember another example offered by a TV show. Thus, it was stated that “we have an increase of about 2% confirmed by the fact that, in that period, there was an increase in production from 4.3% to 6.2%.” Here the sign of equality between “percentage” and “percentage points” was placed. Compared to 4.3%, the increase to 6.2% shows an arithmetic difference between the numbers of the quantities expressed as a percentage. In this case, the “percentage points” formula had to be used. Simply put, what we don’t report matters, as things happen with all the linguistic and logical ways of expression: “we don’t gather apples with pears.” (T.B.)