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I'm writing an essay reporting data shown in a chart. There are 5 categories in the chart: football, basketball, tennis, badminton, and "other sports" (which means all of the sports examined other than the four specifically mentioned)

I had reported the data for football and basketball. Then, I wanted to report the data for the other-sport category, as it was more convenient for me to report it at that point. But that was when trouble showed up.

The percentage of men playing other sports was 5%.

If I wrote it this way, readers might think that "other sports" here included tennis and badminton, since I hadn't report data related to these two sports. So after brainstorming for a while, I came up with this new version:

The percentage of men in the category for other sports was 5%.

However, I don't know if I'm using the prepositions correctly because I have only heard of "The percentage for this category", not "The percentage of X in the category for Y". So, am I using them right?

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  • "in the category for other sports" is not idiomatic. "in the Other Sports category". The percentage of men in the Other Sports category was only 5%. Or simply "The percentage of men in other sports was only 5%" if you wish to refer to the other sports naturally and not qua category.
    – TimR
    Commented May 17 at 9:58
  • How about Five percent of men are in the category “other sports”? Besides rearranging, what I have done here is put the string other sports in quotation marks and used that as the name of the category. Commented May 17 at 10:03
  • Using initial caps -- in Other Sports -- or surrounding the category in quotation marks -- in "other sports" -- are both acceptable variants. Probably governed by the house style sheet.
    – TimR
    Commented May 17 at 10:05
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    The rearrangement wasn’t necessarily a recommendation. It was more a way I could clear the quantity out of the way to focus on the point of your question. So another wording that is a lot less of a rearranging is The category “other sports” accounts for 5% of men. Commented May 17 at 11:21
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    By the way, are your categories exclusive? It seems a bit unnatural to eliminate people who play both basketball and tennis, say. Whatever the situation actually is, your introduction really should explain it explicitly. Ambiguous uses of percentages lead to a whole lot of ambiguities and misinterpretations. Commented May 17 at 11:26

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In any type of report there must be an introduction. The author tells the reader which activities (sports) are being compared and explains that "other sports" refer to sports other than basketball, football, tennis, and badminton.

And therefore, when the author compares the five different groups, the reader will not misinterpret the results; e.g

In 2015 the percentage of [nationality] men who did (or played) other sports rose/fell to 5%.

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  • How should I explain the "other sports" category? Maybe in my intro? How's this: The chart compares the percentages of British men and women playing football, basketball, tennis, badminton, and other sports in 2010? Commented May 17 at 11:07
  • I think it's not guaranteed that readers will interpret "other sports" as a category by the explanation above. It might just be some other categories that the author didn't want to mention. Commented May 17 at 11:10
  • First comment: Yes, that's perfectly OK Second comment: Yes, they will accept the explanation. Why not? It means other sports that are not listed.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 17 at 12:34
  • I mean in that intro, yes. But IMHO, when they read it in another paragraph, the quotes as in the "other sports" category is still needed for clarity. Commented May 17 at 14:52
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    @anIELTSlearner I disagree, people's/ examiners' memories are not so short that in the second or third paragraph they've already forgotten what other sports mean. The report is not a ten page long document, it's about three or four paragraphs at the most.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 17 at 18:08

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