Abbreviation: pc (percent)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lauren0187, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. lauren0187 Senior Member

    Uk, english

    I am trying to work out what pc stands for in the following context:
    "The consumer price index (CPI) remained steady at 2.1pc"

    Thank you for any suggestions!
  2. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    lauren0187. I am puzzled. You give your native language as Uk, english. That is a normal abbreviation for "per cent".
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    The vast majority of AE speakers, I'm afraid, would at least have to pause to figure out that pc is "percent."
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would pause too.
    What's happened to %?
  6. ><FISH'> Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    British English
    I have never seen that used in place of a % before, and I don't see the logic in using that instead of a %.
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Perhaps it's a Daily Telegraph thing? Here's the context - click:
    As I understand it :)rolleyes:) the CPI measures the average (percentage) change month-on-month in the prices of consumer goods and services.
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    My mind would read it immediately as "per piece" or "apiece" or "piece". I don't think I've ever seen "pc" as an abbreviation for "percent" before reading this thread and seeing natkretep's examples.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  10. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Is that not strange? I have seen pc used instead of % many times. On reflection, probably as Loob and natkretep wrote, principally in newspapers. I would not use it myself, but to see it comes as no surprise and I understand it immediately. Panjandrum lives within a couple of hundred miles of me, and may sometimes be exposed to the same newspapers, yet has to pause before he understands the meaning.

    I have looked at the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish Times - both use it frequently. As Loob wrote, it is used in The Daily Telegraph. It is also used in The Scotsman. I could not find it in a quick search of the South Wales Evening Post. Thus, it is a common abbreviation for per cent in newspapers throughout the British Isles (which, of course, include the Republic of Ireland) with the possible exception of parts of Wales.
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I'm more used to seeing pc as an abbreviation on an order form or packing list.
    Perhaps I should read the local papers more.
  12. lauren0187 Senior Member

    Uk, english
    Thanks for everyone's answers, could it perhaps be 'per capita', I have no idea how CPi is measured, this is just a guess after googling!!
  13. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Welcome back to your thread. No, it really is "per cent", as shown in the extract in Loob's post. A problem is that the article was badly written. The author wrote "The CPI remained steady at 2.1pc ...", but meant that the annualized rate of change of the CPI remained steady at 2.1%. The CPI is not expressed as a percentage, since it is an index - it is a number, currently 112.4, and relates one measure of cost of living with the same measure in 2005 when the CPI was set at 100.
  14. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I also had thought the CPI was the value of the index itself but the UK government site explains it this way, just as Loob described,

    and, although the government glossary does not overtly say so, the change is reported as a percentage change.

    I agree with Andygc that it is misleading (it is a % change in an index, not the index itself) but it has been proscribed as the new definition.
  15. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    It is depressing to see how government web sites can so easily mislead. It is even more depressing that it is the Office for National Statistics that is causing the confusion. The same web site gives a clearer but lengthier explanation on other pages such as this one. The CPI is what its title suggests, an index. The CPI does measure change in the cost of living but that change is a simple numerical change. The measure of inflation based on the CPI is the percentage change in the index. Thus, if the CPI in 2005 was 100 and the CPI in 2006 was 101, the annual change in the CPI was 1, and the annual rate of inflation was 1%. If it had gone from 200 to 201 the annual increase would still have been 1, but the rate of inflation only 0.5%.

    The CPI can measure change over any time period, not just monthly change. It just happens to be calculated monthly, so the smallest period of change that it can measure is one month. In short, the short explanation that JulianStuart found has the curse of brevity upon it - to impair understanding.

    The error in the article was to state that the CPI had remained steady (ie unchanged). It had not, it had continued to increase, but the rate of increase was constant.
  16. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Thanks to Andygc, for bringing logic and common sense where the original author ignored both. An index cannot "remain steady at X%". It can remain steady at X% of a benchmark number. It appears that some U.K. burrocrats receive language training from the same gremlins who teach U.S. burrocrats to mangle, obfuscate, and deform simple facts.
  17. NTV Banned

    The M-W Dictionary defines pct, not pc, as "percent; percentage". Please look here.
  18. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Yes, but M-W is a U.S. dictionary. (To confirm this, click "About Us" at the bottom of the page at the link, then skip past the ad.) It has already been established that "pc" as an abbreviation for "percent" is used only in British English, not in AE.
  19. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    English (American)
    But M-W also gives "percent; percentage" as a definition for "PC," as you can see here (click on the third entry, "PC (abbreviation)").

    Nevertheless, you can mark me down as another American who would never use "pc" instead of "%", and has almost never seen it. "Pct", yes, though still rare.

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