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The actual yield can differ from the theoretical yield for a variety of reasons. For example, some of the material might stick to the sides of the beakers or there may be impurities in the substances. Additionally, side reactions may cause the actual yield to be less from the theoretical yield. The theoretical yield is therefore the best case scenario, maximum yield that can be produced, and is determined by the limiting reactant.
When conducting experiments, there can be a lot of controllable and uncontrollable circumstances that cause yields to differ. Say in a perfect situation, there are no impurities and no errors caused by those conducting the experiment; in this case, the result would represent your theoretical yield, the result in a perfect situation. It is very common for impurities and errors to occur, and therefore the actual yield would be the most prevalent result and when converting to percent yield, would show the percentage of yield vs the most perfect outcome.
Therefore, since the actual yield is always smaller than the theoretical yield, when performing the percentage yield, actual goes over theoretical. Otherwise, the percentage would be greater than 100.
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