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Is there any difference between 成 and 百分之 when it comes to telling about percentage? I've just encountered 成 for the first time and started wondering.

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  • 1
    Just in case the Internet is curious: 厘 is also occasionally used to mean "percent" (along with 厘米 = "centimeter").
    – Becky 李蓓
    May 17 '20 at 7:03
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Per CantoDict:

...

[5] [n] one tenth; 10 per cent

so it's usually used with round numbers where you could use 十分之~

一成股權 = 10% equity

牛排烤到七成熟 = Steak grilled to 70% done

十成功力 = 100% strength

but in the following format can be used for exact percentages

一成三的股權 = 13% of equity

九成九是他 = 99% certain it is him

The only real place where you'll see an important difference is when you're talking about 20%. Because 成 is technically talking about tenths as a kind of thing, you figure 百分之二十 but you count 成.

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  • Edited to add some commentary to clarify the format being used in Tang's examples and to highlight the major difference between the two methods. Tang, if it gets rolled back, please restore the points in your phrasing.
    – lly
    May 16 '20 at 13:26
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If used to describe a percentage, "成" means 10%

so

"一成" = 10%

"兩成" = 20%

...

"九成" = "90%"

"十成" = "100%"

So sometimes we will say "我有十成把握" = "I'm 100% sure"

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  • Not sure why @zyy got credited with the edit, but thanks for getting it done.
    – lly
    May 17 '20 at 5:44
  • @lly Because I improved the edit.
    – zyy
    May 17 '20 at 14:10
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一成 means 10% 百分之 means %

Note that 成 has many meanings, and it could be confusing:

● 成chéng ㄔㄥˊ ◎ 做好,做完:成功。完成。成就。成事。成交。成立。成婚。成仁(儒家主张的成就仁德)。成人之美。玉成其事。 ◎ 事物发展到一定的形态或状况:成形。成性。成人。自学成才。蔚然成风。 ◎ 变为:长成。变成。 ◎ 可以,能行:成,就这么办。 ◎ 称赞人能力强:他办事麻利,真成。 ◎ 够,达到一定数量:成年累(lěi )月。 ◎ 已定的,定形的:成规。成俗。成见。成例。成竹在胸。 ◎ 十分之一:增产三成。 ◎ 平定,讲和:“会于稷,以成宋乱”。 ◎ 姓。

Reference: 在线新华字典

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成 means "perdec" (per ten, a tenth).

百分之 means "percent" (per hundred, a hundredth).

千分之 means "per mille" (per thousand, a thousandth).

三成 = three perdec = 3/10 (i.e. 30%)

七成 = seven perdec = 7/10 (i.e. 70%)

百分之三 = three percent = 3%

百分之七 = seven percent = 7%

千分之三 = three per mille = 3‰

千分之七 = seven per mille = 7‰

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