Do you use per cent or percent when writing about breaking things up into parts of a hundred? There’s a technically correct way to do it.
Strictly speaking, as Australian English follows the conventions of UK English, you should use per cent with a space between each word. It’s generally regarded as being a corruption of the Latin per centum, although the Romans didn’t invent percentages as a concept. Per Cent is the UK English form, whereas American English uses percent without the space. So if you want to be correct within Australian English you should look to per cent as your style.
Language, however, is an evolving critter, and there’s a strong case for the use of percent instead when writing it down, with plenty of examples across Australian English as it is written today. Per cent is the standard, but standards can change.
The key matter with either per cent or percent is to maintain consistency within documents, because mixing the two up simply looks dreadful. For what it’s worth, the Lifehacker style is to use per cent. Which do you use?
Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.