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I am a non-native English speaker. I am applying for the USA university for management studies. While writing the essay I came across the sentence, "I was 100% confident."

My query:

Is it appropriate to write 100% or should I write cent percent? Does it sound professional?

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It doesn't make sense, because “cent” is not English. It is, however, the French word for “hundred” :) As I don't have edit rights, could someone edit the question and title so that it makes sense? –  F'x Jan 22 '11 at 14:30
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By the way, user113, sometimes less is more. It may simply be better from a stylistic point of view to say "I was confident" rather than "I was 100% confident." –  Robusto Jan 22 '11 at 16:27
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@Jim Oke: Cent means one thing in English; a division of currency/coin. It is plain incorrect to say "cent percent" - perhaps the questioner can clarify what he means. –  Noldorin Jan 22 '11 at 17:08
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@Jimi: You should have said that originally! You just confused me initially hah, but I see your point now. Indeed, "cent percent" seems to be a peculiar term that is unique to Indian English. (It's certainly not used in British English.) Nonetheless, it's probably valid in the dialect relevant to the user, so I've rolled back my edit and added the tag indian-english. :) –  Noldorin Jan 22 '11 at 18:04
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Though he seems to be writing for Americans, in which case it's best to use U.S. English... –  Noldorin Jan 22 '11 at 18:05
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would substitute an adjective that means the same thing: totally, completely, absolutely, etc.

As it stands, though, your question makes no sense: "cent percent" is meaningless. Are you asking whether you should spell out "one hundred percent" instead of using numerals? If so, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference. Still, in the context I would use one of the adjectives I suggested here.

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Indeed, cent percent is unheard of in the US, but not so in old BrE usage and other parts of the English-speaking world. For example: arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/… You could think of it as one for one/cent for cent. I hear it's just about standard usage in India/Pakistan. –  Jimi Oke Jan 22 '11 at 14:34
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@Jimi Okie: True, I have never, ever heard that expression before. Nevertheless, OP is applying to an American university, so avoiding it is probably best. –  Robusto Jan 22 '11 at 16:10
    
Certainly! I only heard of it myself last month and it's not a construction I would use. –  Jimi Oke Jan 22 '11 at 16:16
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I would use 100% when it was an actual measurement, and one hundred percent when it's an expression.

After counting, I saw that 100% of the visitors wore hats. At the time, I was one hundred percent sure of my observation. Later I found out that most were not actually hats, but pets.

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Use 100% when you are stating mathematical thought like statistics. Use "one hundred percent" when you are stating non-mathematical thought like a story.

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