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I'm writing the following sentence:

Women lead uptake at XX%.

But a friend is saying that it should be written:

Women lead uptake with XX%.

Which one is correct?

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I barely understand either without some context. I guess this is a headline: the grammar of headlines is different from English grammar (hardly any articles are needed, for example). I think both are equally unclear, partly because it gives no hint what the percentage is of: of people, of women, of potential taker-uppers, of instances of whatever it is that is being taken up? –  Colin Fine Jan 21 '11 at 15:52
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I agree, I'd like some context. For example: why is there no article before uptake? –  Cerberus Jan 21 '11 at 18:06
    
English is not my native language actually so I'm struggling a bit with this. –  Carlos G. Jan 26 '11 at 5:24
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Use 'with' if you are reporting the percentage as a fraction of the whole. Use 'at' if you are reporting the percentage as a target or score.

"William won the school election, with 62% of the votes."

"The polls indicated that William's approval rating was at 73%."

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I would say 'with' is strictly correct: you are essentially shortening:

Women lead uptake with XX% of the total

That doesn't make sense with at:

Women lead uptake at XX% of the total

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I think the "at" form is shortening "Women lead uptake because their uptake is are at XX% of whatever it is - like saying "Bill is the tallest at 7 feet"; clearly "with" in the last sentence would have a very different meaning :-) –  psmears Jan 21 '11 at 17:45
    
@Psmears: Perhaps we could analyse it as "being at [the point/level of]"? It is then a non-defining attribute. –  Cerberus Jan 21 '11 at 17:57
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"with" means "By the means of" "at" means "in or near the location of" i would use "by".buy an economics newspaper tomorrow. You can see a whole page of examples.

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Without context we can't really know, but "lead by 10%" would have a very different meaning from "lead with 10%": the first would mean that they're 10% ahead; the second would mean that they have 10% (of whatever it is), but we don't know whether the runner-up has 0%, 9.99%, or anything in between :) –  psmears Jan 21 '11 at 18:31
    
can you please show me an example of "...with (percentage)". Maybe some article from a native writer. thanks –  Fiona Cheung Jan 22 '11 at 10:39
    
@Fiona Cheung: blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/03/… - first sentence. –  Optimal Cynic Jul 5 '11 at 19:16
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