What does it mean to say you made 85 percent of the 40 basketball free throws you shot? Percentages indicate how large or small one number is in relation to another. They do this by expressing a number as a fraction of 100. For example, 32 percent is equal to 32 ÷ 100. As a decimal, this number is 0.32.

Pick a number you want to express as a percentage. To carry on with our basketball question, let's assume you made 34 of your 40 free throws. In order to find out your shooting percentage, you will need to express the number of free throws you made (34) as a percentage of the total number you attempted (40).

Use fractions to help you determine percentages. Take the number you want to covert to a percentage (34) and place it on the top. The top number in a fraction is called the numerator. Then take the number of attempts (40) and place it on the bottom. The bottom number in a fraction is called the denominator. The free throw fraction would be written as follows: 34/40.

Divide the numerator by the denominator in order to get a decimal. In our scenario, if you divide 34 by 40, your answer will be 0.85.

Multiply your result in the previous step by 100 to find out your percentage: 0.85 x 100 = 85. Add a percent sign (%) behind the number to properly write your free throw percentage. When you make 34 out of 40 free throws, you shoot 85 percent (85%).

References

About the Author

Kevin Belhumeur began writing and editing in 2008. He has written sports-related articles for the "Newport Beach Daily Pilot" and has copy-edited for the "UCLA Daily Bruin." Belhumeur holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California-Los Angeles.