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Word Problems/More Than 100%



A fruit juice contains 120% of vitamin C.  How can more than 100% of vitamin C be contained in a fruit juice or in anything else?

I thank you for your reply.

ANSWER: The 120% refers to the RDA, or recommended dietary allowance. It means an 8-ounce serving provides you with more than the recommended amount of vitamin C. It's safe because your body eliminates the excess.

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I want to thank you for the reply.

How can there be more than 100% of something in something else?  

If a classroom contains 10 students, 100% of these students is 10. Can there be 120% in the classroom?

ANSWER: You can have more than 100% of something, just as you can have more than one apple.

If a classroom contains 120% of 10 students, there are 12 students.

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I want to thank you for the reply.

There are 10 students in a class and these 10 students represent 100% of the class.  Now, two more new students are added to the class.  Does the class now have 120% students?

Here's another example: Add one cup of cheerios to the bowl. Now add another 1/4 cup to the bowl.  Does it make sense to think that there is 125% of Cheerios in the bowl.

or Add 3/4 cups of Cheerios to the bowl; this is 75%. Now add another 1/4 cup to the bowl; this is 25%. Does the bowl now contain 100% of Cheerios?

I'm just guessing on these examples, but I does make some sense to me.

I thank you for your last reply.

"Does the class now have 120% students?"
No, the class does not have 120% students. Like a fraction, a percentage can represent a number by itself, or it can indicate a proportion of or comparison to another quantity.
120% by itself is the number 1.20. However, the class has 12 students, not 1.20 students!

Initially, the 10 students were 100% of the class. After the two new students join, the 12 students still represents 100% of the class, but the class size is now 120% of the original class size. Note the "of" clause. If you are using 120% as a proportion or comparison of something, you have indicate what the something is. In this case, it is the original class size.
"Does it make sense to think that there is 125% of Cheerios in the bowl."
Again, 125% by itself is just the number 1.25, which is not the number of Cheerios.
The 125% is a comparison to the original amount. The bowl now contains 125% of the original amount.
"Does the bowl now contain 100% of Cheerios?"
No, it contains 1 cup of Cheerios, which is considerably more than 100% = 1 Cheerio.
If the bowl is now full, you can say that that Cheerios fill 100% of the capacity of the bowl.


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Janet Yang


Word problems are my favorite type of math questions! I would not feel comfortable answering questions that require specialized knowledge (Physics, Statistics, etc.) because I have not studied these in depth.


I tutor students (fifth through twelfth grades) and am a Top Contributor on Yahoo!Answers with over 24,000 math solutions.

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I have a Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School.

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