__% of xxx did A, and __% did B

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, please see the following sentence I've just made up.

60% of respondents smoked, and 40% drank alcohol.

Does the "40%" mean 40% of the (total) respondents or 40% of smokers? To make the meaning clear, should the sentence be as follows?

Of respondents, 60% smoked, and 40% drank alcohol.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    60% of the respondents smoked and 40% drank alcohol. (You can leave out "the" if you're writing in abbreviated form.)

    Each percentage refers to the total number of respondents. You don't need to change to the second sentence, and I wouldn't.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks Copyright.

    (I thought the reason why survey report writers often leave out "the" in a sentence like above is that if they add "the", the readers might wonder "Which specific respondents? Are they the ones mentioned in the previous page?" This is similar to saying, for example, "The majority of the people judge others by their appearance" at the beginning of a conversation.)

    Would the original sentence without the comma convey a different meaning?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    "What specific respondents?"
    The specific respondents who took part in our our survey.
    This is similar to saying, for example, "The majority of the people judge others by their appearance" at the beginning of a conversation.)
    Actually, it's not.
    Would the original sentence without the comma convey a different meaning?
    No.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The specific respondents who took part in our our survey.
    I'll probably be told, "No, you are wrong", but allow me to explain my view :). Survey reports usually don't include respondents who did NOT take part in the survey (those who were screened out or who refused to continue at the screening stage). So, there is no need to say "the respondents". "Respondents" alone clearly means "all respondents in the survey" (just like all people in the world). This is also good to differentiate those (total) respondents from a particular group of respondents you want to refer to. Consider this sentence. "68% of the respondents were smokers, and many of them were students. 45% of the respondents drank coffee daily." In this sentence, you don't know whether it's 45% of the smokers or 45% of the total respondents. If you remove "the", it is clear that it's 45% of the total respondents.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I'll probably be told, "No, you are wrong", but allow me to explain my view :). Survey reports usually don't include respondents who did NOT take part in the survey (those who were screened out or who refused to continue at the screening stage). So, there is no need to say "the respondents". "Respondents" alone clearly means "all respondents in the survey" (just like all people in the world).
    If people are screened out or for some reason decide not to participate, I don't consider them respondents. You may, because you view anyone who responds to your call for people to be a respondent, but I don't. Respondents are only those who took the survey, the results of which you're discussing. No reader is going to start imagining all those dropouts or washouts who didn't participate.

    Having said that, I've already given you license to leave "the" out, not for any nuance but because you might be omitting articles throughout your presentation.
    This is also good to differentiate those (total) respondents from a particular group of respondents you want to refer to. Consider this sentence. "68% of the respondents were smokers, and many of them were students. 45% of the respondents drank coffee daily." In this sentence, you don't know whether it's 45% of the smokers or 45% of the total respondents.
    Not true. Both 68% and 45% refer to the entire group of respondents. You even have "respondents" identified in both sentences.
    If you remove "the", it is clear that it's 45% of the total respondents.
    Doesn't make any difference.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hmm......I'm not convinced. :D

    The specific respondents who took part in our our survey.
    Are you saying that "respondents" without the definite article could include the respondents who took part in some other surveys although the report you are reading is only about one particular survey ?
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Maybe this will solve the issue...

    1. In Japan, 30% of men are smokers.
    2. In this survey, 30% of respondents were smokers.

    Would you say "the men" in #1 because "men" without "the" could include men in other countries? No.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hmm......I'm not convinced. :D
    Are you saying that "respondents" without the definite article could include the respondents who took part in some other surveys although the report you are reading is only about one particular survey ?
    Of course not. I'm saying that "the respondents" and "respondents" are both correct.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Maybe this will solve the issue...

    1. In Japan, 30% of men are smokers.
    2. In this survey, 30% of respondents were smokers.

    Would you say "the men" in #1 because "men" without "the" could include men in other countries? No.
    Again, of course not.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks Copyright. To make my point clear, and to prevent further off-topic posts, I'll start a new thread.
     
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