# Proportion vs. portion

I already looked them up in dictionaries, but I can't understand the meanings completely.

They said:

• Proportion is a derived term of portion. As nouns the difference between proportion and portion is that proportion is (countable) a quantity of something that is part of the whole amount or number while portion is an allocated amount. As verbs the difference between proportion and portion is that proportion is (arts) to set or render in proportion while portion is to divide into amounts, as for allocation to specific purposes.

• As nouns the difference between ratio and proportion is that ratio is a number representing a comparison between two things while proportion is (countable) a quantity of something that is part of the whole amount or number. As a verb proportion is (arts) to set or render in proportion.

• As nouns the difference between portion and ratio is that portion is portion while ratio is reason. I summarised them as the picture above.

According to the pie graph below (the previous question), I have been told differently that the words "ratio" and "proportion" don't suit the following sentence.

Overall, the numbers/percentages are not that very different for each _____.

However, as stated in my summary, thus "ratio" equals "percentage", and "proportion" is a quantity of something that is part of the whole amount. Now they should fit the sentence, shouldn't they?

What are the difference between:

1. proportion

2. portion

and

3. ratio?

`Thank you very much :)`

• I think you would find the two words "proportion" and "portion" far easier to understand if you divorced them from one another in your mind. Their etymology is clearly linked, but they are used in very different contexts. If I were you I would think of them as entirely different words. – WS2 Nov 2 '18 at 20:23

## 1 Answer

Portion is interchangeable with slice/section/piece so fits your sentence.

If you're asked what proportion you'd usually answer with a quantity, fraction or percentage. So it doesn't fit your sentence, it would be like repeating yourself.

A ratio is made up of 2 or more parts e.g. 3:1

• It may be annoying, but I'm really curious. In this case, the 40% is also from 40 : 25 : 35, is percentage considered ratio? – hbtpoprock Nov 2 '18 at 14:30
• @hbtpoprock: A ratio of 3:1 means that out of every 4 (3+1) equal parts, 3 fall into the first category, and 1 into the second category. A percentage is just a "special case" for identifying how many parts out of 100 fall into the category of interest. So 40% corresponds to the ratio 40:60 (which would normally be expressed as 2:3 after factorising). – FumbleFingers Nov 2 '18 at 14:35
• You're saying percentage is a proper subset of ratio, that would mean the word "ratio" may fit the sentence too? @FumbleFingers – hbtpoprock Nov 2 '18 at 15:39
• I'm not sure what you mean by "proper subset". Syntactically, a ratio is different to a percentage. Primarily because with a ratio you always need to specify two numbers, but with a percentage one number (the total within which some fraction / portion / proportion forms a part) is always 100, so it doesn't need to be explicitly stated. But this sort of question belongs on English Language Learners, not here. – FumbleFingers Nov 2 '18 at 16:00