I am not sure if an article is required before percentages in Spanish. Are both examples below correct?

  • Él redujo la pobreza de 60% a 36 %.
  • Él redujo la pobreza del 60% al 36%.
  • No es "de 10 % a 20 %", sino "del 10% al 20%", es decir, de [el 10 %] a [el 20 %].
    – Fran
    Nov 27 '19 at 21:10
  • Um, did you try googling to find some authentic sentences? Or, did you try looking at linguee.com? You can get a quick view of what's common with either of those methods. Dec 1 '19 at 7:08

Let's see. According to the Spanish Gramática:

Las expresiones fraccionarias que designan porcentajes (treinta por ciento, ochenta por ciento) son nominales.

This is, the group "X por ciento" acts as a whole as if it were a noun. Hence they must comply with the standard rules for nouns:

  • They can be preceded by a definite or indefinite article:

    Un treinta por ciento de los trabajadores se sumaron a la huelga.

  • They admit adjectives:

    El setenta por ciento restante acudió al trabajo con normalidad.

If you want to omit the article you need to stick to the standard rules for omitting the article before nouns, but how do you generalize the concept of "X por ciento"? Usually a percentage is an amount of something ("30 por ciento de algo"). Generalizing the concept of "30 por ciento" would imply referring to that percentage for any thing that can be expressed as a percentage, or maybe it would imply to talk about the percentage itself and not about the percentage of something.

Given that this is not the case, you definitely need the article in your example, as you are talking about a specific percentage of a specific property (poverty). So the proper sentence is the second one:

Él redujo la pobreza del 60% al 36%.

  • Thanks for the answer! "reducir la pobreza del 60% al 36%" sounded strange to me because in Portuguese we say "reduzir a pobreza de / dos 60% a / aos 36%" (ie, the alternative is to use a masc plural article). One more small difference between both languages. Nov 27 '19 at 10:40
  • In my question, I meant X and Y as amounts, eg "reducir la pobreza de 60% a 36%". As you said that the percentage can be preceded by an article, I am not sure if that article-less example would be correct. Would it? Nov 27 '19 at 21:43
  • @AlanEvangelista no, it wouldn't as you are talking about specific levels of a specific property (poverty), so you need to include the article.
    – Charlie
    Nov 27 '19 at 23:00
  • Thanks! I have simplified my question and you could simplify your answer to make it easier to understand for future readers. Nov 27 '19 at 23:07

Both forms are fine but they have different implications.

I agree with Charlie about the article based on the fact that a percentage is a part of a whole

Él redujo la pobreza de [el] 60% a [el] 36% [de los habitantes del país]

Buth the prepositions de and a also denote origin and destiny. In other words, these prepositions are equivalent to desde and hasta. So:

Él redujo la pobreza de 60% a 36% (desde 60% hasta 36%)

I admit this may be arguable because as a percentage is a part of a whole, this form also warrants an article:

Él redujo la pobreza desde el 60% al 36%

But the preposition de is also a quantifier:

Íbamos a una velocidad de 150km/h

Thus, with quantities we can say:

El coche nuevo puede acelerar de 0km/h a 100km/h en dos segundos

We may now think this is a different case; however we may be tempted to say

El coche nuevo puede acelerar desde los 0km/h hasta los 100km/h

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