I'm working on a paper and have to compare two groups (in percentage) who either do or do not do particular activities. I don't want to use the same structure again and again throughout the text. Are the following sentences easy to understand? Thank you.

In the case of daily reports, A% of participants are required to write reports on a daily basis, while B% of the staff provide no information.

From a gender point of view, 60% of men (vs. 40%) and 70% of women (vs. 30%) do this particular activity.

Is the second one suggesting that 60% of men do the activity and the other 40% don't? I have to do this for a couple of times in the rest of the paper. Any suggestion for other possible structures is greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    Wouldn't '60% of men and 70% of women do this particular activity' suffice? Sep 21, 2021 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


I find your first sentence confusing. Are "participants" the same as "staff"? Though maybe this would be clear in context.

Likewise, "60% of men do the activity (vs 40%)" had me initially wondering, what does the "versus" mean? Do you mean 60% of men versus 40% of women? 60% of men versus 40% of all participants? Etc. I would suggest you spell it out: "60% of men did this while 40% of men did not. 70% of women did this while 30% of women did not."

If you're writing a technical or academic paper, I think the general rule is to give priority to being clear over "sounding nice". If you are giving a bunch of percentages, I would say absolutely DO NOT try to word them differently. Establish a pattern and use the same pattern throughout. If you change the wording, the reader may wonder whether you used different words because you mean something different, or you used different words just because you thought it sounded nicer.

If you have many such numbers that you plan to or could give all at once, it might be simpler and clearer to make a table rather than wrapping the numbers in narrative.

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