# Sum vs. Total: Know the Difference

By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023

**Sum refers to the result of adding numbers together, while total is the complete amount or quantity of all counted or calculated elements.**

## Key Differences

Sum is a term commonly used in mathematics, specifically referring to the result obtained from adding two or more numbers. Total, however, encompasses the whole amount or quantity of something, often used in contexts beyond just arithmetic.

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Nov 19, 2023

In mathematical operations, 'sum' is used to denote the answer to an addition problem. 'Total' can refer to the final amount in various contexts, such as the total cost of items purchased or the total number of items.

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Nov 19, 2023

While 'sum' is primarily associated with the process of addition, 'total' is often used as both a noun and a verb, indicating the act of calculating the total amount or describing the overall quantity.

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Nov 19, 2023

Sum is more specific in its application to the field of mathematics and arithmetic calculations. Total is a more versatile term, used in various fields like accounting, statistics, and everyday language to denote the aggregate or complete amount.

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Nov 19, 2023

In a broader sense, 'sum' also implies a summary or brief, but this is a secondary meaning. 'Total', on the other hand, can also imply the entirety or the whole of something in a more general sense.

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Nov 19, 2023

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## Comparison Chart

### Primary Meaning

The result of adding numbers

The complete amount or quantity

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### Additional Meanings

Can imply a summary or brief

Implies entirety or whole of something

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## Sum and Total Definitions

#### Sum

Total obtained by adding numbers.

He calculated the sum of all expenses.

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#### Sum

An amount obtained through addition.

The sum of the parts equals the whole.

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#### Total

The entirety of something counted or calculated.

The total number of participants was 200.

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#### Sum

A mathematical term for addition result.

Find the sum of these three numbers.

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#### Total

Aggregate sum of various elements.

The total of all invoices was higher this month.

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#### Total

Comprehensive quantity or amount.

The total damage from the storm is still being assessed.

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#### Total

The whole amount of something; the entirety

The storm damaged the total of the housing units.

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#### Sum

The whole amount, quantity, or number; an aggregate

The sum of the team's combined experience.

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#### Total

Of, relating to, or constituting the whole amount; entire

The total population of the city.

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#### Total

Complete; utter; absolute

Total concentration.

A total effort.

A total fool.

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#### Total

To determine the total of; add up

They totaled the applications at 600.

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#### Total

To equal a total of; amount to

The week's receipts totaled more than $90,000.

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#### Total

To wreck completely; demolish

The driver survived the crash but totaled the car.

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#### Sum

A quantity obtained by addition or aggregation.

The sum of 3 and 4 is 7.

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#### Total

An amount obtained by the addition of smaller amounts.

A total of £145 was raised by the bring-and-buy stall.

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#### Sum

(often plural) An arithmetic computation, especially one posed to a student as an exercise (not necessarily limited to addition).

We're learning about division, and the sums are tricky.

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#### Total

Entire; relating to the whole of something.

The total book is rubbish from start to finish.

The total number of votes cast is 3,270.

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#### Sum

A summary; the principal points or thoughts when viewed together; the amount; the substance; compendium.

This is the sum of all the evidence in the case.

This is the sum and substance of his objections.

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#### Total

(mathematics) (of a function) Defined on all possible inputs.

The Ackermann function is one of the simplest and earliest examples of a total computable function that is not primitive recursive.

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#### Total

(transitive) To add up; to calculate the sum of.

When we totalled the takings, we always got a different figure.

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#### Total

To demolish; to wreck completely. (from total loss)

Honey, I’m OK, but I’ve totaled the car.

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#### Sum

A type of administrative district used in China, Mongolia, and Russia. In Mongolia, a sum is smaller than a province. In China, it is only used in Inner Mongolia, where it is equivalent to a township.

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#### Total

Whole; not divided; entire; full; complete; absolute; as, a total departure from the evidence; a total loss.

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#### Total

The whole; the whole sum or amount; as, these sums added make the grand total of five millions.

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#### Total

To determine the total of (a set of numbers); to add; - often used with up; as, to total up the bill.

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#### Total

To damage beyond repair; - used especially of vehicles damaged in an accident; as, he skid on an ice patch and totaled his Mercedes against a tree. From total loss.

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#### Sum

The aggregate of two or more numbers, magnitudes, quantities, or particulars; the amount or whole of any number of individuals or particulars added together; as, the sum of 5 and 7 is 12.

Take ye the sum of all the congregation.

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#### Sum

A quantity of money or currency; any amount, indefinitely; as, a sum of money; a small sum, or a large sum.

With a great sum obtained I this freedom.

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#### Sum

The principal points or thoughts when viewed together; the amount; the substance; compendium; as, this is the sum of all the evidence in the case; this is the sum and substance of his objections.

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#### Total

Add up in number or quantity;

The bills amounted to $2,000

The bill came to $2,000

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#### Sum

Height; completion; utmost degree.

Thus have I told thee all my state, and broughtMy story to the sum of earthly bliss.

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#### Total

Determine the sum of;

Add all the people in this town to those of the neighboring town

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#### Sum

A problem to be solved, or an example to be wrought out.

A sum in arithmetic wherein a flaw discovered at a particular point is ipso facto fatal to the whole.

A large sheet of paper . . . covered with long sums.

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#### Total

Constituting the full quantity or extent; complete;

An entire town devastated by an earthquake

Gave full attention

A total failure

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#### Sum

To bring together into one whole; to collect into one amount; to cast up, as a column of figures; to ascertain the totality of; - usually with up.

The mind doth value every moment, and then the hour doth rather sum up the moments, than divide the day.

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#### Sum

To bring or collect into a small compass; to comprise in a few words; to condense; - usually with up.

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard," in few words sums up the moral of this fable.

He sums their virtues in himself alone.

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#### Sum

To have (the feathers) full grown; to furnish with complete, or full-grown, plumage.

But feathered soon and fledgeThey summed their pens [wings].

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#### Total

Complete in extent or degree and in every particular;

A full game

A total eclipse

A total disaster

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#### Sum

A quantity of money;

He borrowed a large sum

The amount he had in cash was insufficient

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#### Sum

The final aggregate;

The sum of all our troubles did not equal the misery they suffered

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#### Sum

The choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience;

The gist of the prosecutor's argument

The heart and soul of the Republican Party

The nub of the story

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#### Sum

A set containing all and only the members of two or more given sets;

Let C be the union of the sets A and B

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#### Sum

Determine the sum of;

Add all the people in this town to those of the neighboring town

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Oct 19, 2023

## Repeatedly Asked Queries

#### Is sum used in mathematical equations?

Yes, it's a common term in arithmetic.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Is sum always about numbers?

Primarily, yes, it refers to the result of adding numbers.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Can total refer to a quantity of items?

Yes, it can refer to the complete count of items.

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#### Does total imply completeness?

Yes, it denotes the complete amount or entirety.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Do sums only apply to positive numbers?

No, sums can involve any numbers, including negatives.

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#### Can total be a verb?

Yes, it can be used as a verb meaning to calculate the total.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Is total used in accounting?

Yes, it's commonly used to indicate the overall amount.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Are sums important in budgeting?

Yes, they're crucial for calculating expenses.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Can sum have non-mathematical meanings?

Yes, it can also mean a summary or essence.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Are sums always exact?

In mathematics, sums are exact, but the term can be used loosely.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Is sum used in statistics?

Yes, it's used to describe the total of a data set.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Does sum refer to an addition process?

Yes, it's specifically the result of addition.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Does total encompass all aspects?

Yes, it includes all elements in a count or calculation.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Is sum limited to two numbers?

No, it can involve adding any number of values.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Can total indicate the final amount?

Yes, it often refers to the final or overall amount.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Can total be used in everyday language?

Yes, it's used to refer to the overall amount in various contexts.

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Nov 19, 2023

#### Is total a broader term than sum?

Yes, it has a wider range of applications.

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Nov 19, 2023

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About Author

Written by

Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.