Heheh

Anyway, back on topic, we are onto something indeed. We have two main problems here: 1) wording of the article, and 2) innard workings of “%”, in particular with regards to “+” and “-” operations.

**1) About the wording:**

If you check what you wrote and what’s in the article, it is quite different. You make sense, but as far as I am concerned, the article does not. Let me quote it again:

This is at best misleading, and at worst, plain wrong. I would think this whole quote would be better left out. At first, I was thinking this could be rewritten somehow, but it is actually not that easy, since the behavior of the “%” key seems inconsistent according to the operation it is being combined with. That leads us to:

**2) The innard workings of the “%” key**

Well, it seems that things are not that simple after all, and should not be dismissed with a quick “Prefectly clear now, right?” (quote from the end of the entry).

We have already made clear that there are at least two radically different behaviors of the “%” key. When punching “400 + 27 %”, you get “508” (400 plus 27% of 400), but I get “547.94…” (somehow, that’s what you need if you want to get 400 substracting 27% from it).

I would guess that when you punch in “400 - 27 %”, you would get “292” (400 minus 27% of 400). Here, I am getting “1381.48…”. I have no idea where that latter number is coming from, and to tell you the truth, that’s what prompted my google session in the first place, and led me to this Straight Dope entry. Used the the quality of The Straight Dope articles, I thought that it would be where I’d find my answer, but I was sorely disappointed… So, how are “400”, “27”, “%” and “1381.48…” related? Anyone?

One important point: the behavior of the “%” key is inconsistant with regards to which operation it is combined to, even on *your* calculator. Following your previous post: punching in “400 + 27 %” is calculated as “400+(.27)400”… But then, think about it: if the behavior of “%” was consistant “400 X 27 %” should be calculated as “400 * (.27)400” and should give us “43200”, right? Of course it is not the case: “400 X 27 %” is calculated as just “(.27)400”. How is that consitent with the way things are calculated when “%” is combined with “+”? It just ain’t…

And finally, this brings us back to point 1): since the behavior of “%” is not consistent, you cannot just sum it up in a single quote without mentioning which operator it is combined to. Again, QED: that *“Hitting the percent key tells the innards…”* quote is wrong (misleading if you wish, but that ain’t much better…).

Aaaaanyhow… With all that, I am still wondering where that “1381.48…” is coming from…