"expressing a reduction, as a percentage of the total amount" I.e... If I have 20 of 100 items then I have 20%. If I reduce that number to 15 then I would have 15%. That would be a reduction of 5 items, or a 25% reduction%. OR a reduction of 5% of the total amount EDIT: this is not a trick, or some mind game. just take the original phrase at face value. If someone said to you "Im going to express the reduction/addition, as a percentage of the total amount" does that make sense to you?? Im just trying to get a general feel that if I express something like that, would the average "math" person pick up on what I said?