# Totals vs. Total — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 17, 2024
Totals (plural noun) refers to final amounts or sums, while "total" (singular noun, adjective, or verb) describes the entire amount, complete in itself, or the act of calculating a sum.

## Key Differences

Totals are often used to refer to the final sums of various components in accounting or statistics, indicating the end result of an addition of numbers. On the other hand, "total" can serve as a noun referring to a singular sum, an adjective describing something wholly inclusive, or a verb meaning to add up to a sum.
In some contexts, totals represent the end figures on a balance sheet or in a statistical report, showing aggregated figures. Whereas, "total" as a noun might refer to the complete amount in a single account or category.
When used as a verb, "total" means to calculate the sum of various items or figures, often used in financial and quantitative analyses. Totals, in contrast, does not function as a verb but stays within the noun form, encapsulating multiple sums or final amounts.
As an adjective, "total" describes something that is complete or absolute, such as total darkness or total control. Meanwhile, totals does not have an adjectival form and strictly refers to multiple instances of final amounts.
In everyday usage, "total" can flexibly transition between its roles as noun, verb, and adjective, adapting to various contexts and needs in conversation and writing. Totals, however, is more specialized and used specifically where multiple cumulative amounts are discussed.

## Comparison Chart

Noun (plural)

### Usage in Context

Refers to multiple final sums
Can indicate a single sum, completeness, or action of summing

### Common Contexts

Accounting, statistics
General use, accounting, descriptions

### Functionality

Only serves as a noun
Serves as noun, adjective, and verb

### Example

The totals on the balance were high.
The total darkness was unnerving.

## Compare with Definitions

#### Totals

Final sums or aggregated figures in various accounts.
The totals from each department were combined for the annual report.

#### Total

The entire amount, complete in itself.
The total cost of the project was staggering.

#### Totals

Collective amounts computed from different sources.
The project's expense totals exceeded the initial estimates.

#### Total

Encompassing everything, without exception.
He had total authority over the decision-making process.

#### Totals

Cumulative figures in statistical data.
The monthly totals showed a steady increase in sales.

#### Total

Resulting in an absolute or complete state.
The car was a total loss after the accident.

#### Totals

The ultimate outcomes or results in terms of numbers.
The game ended with impressive totals on the scoreboard.

#### Total

An overall amount calculated from parts.
The total of five plus five is ten.

#### Totals

Summaries of quantitative elements in a list.
The totals at the bottom of the invoice reflected all transactions.

#### Total

To calculate the sum of various elements.
She totaled the numbers to find the final count.

#### Totals

An amount obtained by addition; a sum.

#### Total

Comprising the whole number or amount
A total cost of £4,000

#### Totals

The whole amount of something; the entirety
The storm damaged the total of the housing units.

#### Total

Complete; absolute
A total stranger
It is a matter of total indifference to me

#### Totals

Of, relating to, or constituting the whole amount; entire
The total population of the city.

#### Total

The whole number or amount of something
In total, 200 people were interviewed
He scored a total of thirty-three points

#### Totals

Complete; utter; absolute
Total concentration.
A total effort.
A total fool.

#### Total

Amount in number to
They were left with debts totalling £6,260

#### Totals

To determine the total of; add up
They totaled the applications at 600.

#### Total

Damage (something, typically a vehicle) beyond repair; wreck
He almost totalled the car

#### Totals

To equal a total of; amount to
The week's receipts totaled more than \$90,000.

#### Total

An amount obtained by addition; a sum.

#### Totals

To wreck completely; demolish
The driver survived the crash but totaled the car.

#### Total

The whole amount of something; the entirety
The storm damaged the total of the housing units.

#### Totals

It totals to \$25.

#### Total

Of, relating to, or constituting the whole amount; entire
The total population of the city.

Plural of total

#### Total

Complete; utter; absolute
Total concentration.
A total effort.
A total fool.

#### Total

To determine the total of; add up
They totaled the applications at 600.

#### Total

To equal a total of; amount to
The week's receipts totaled more than \$90,000.

#### Total

To wreck completely; demolish
The driver survived the crash but totaled the car.

#### Total

It totals to \$25.

#### Total

An amount obtained by the addition of smaller amounts.
A total of £145 was raised by the bring-and-buy stall.

#### Total

Sum.
The total of 4, 5 and 6 is 15.

#### 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.

#### Total

(used as an intensifier) Complete; absolute.
He is a total failure.

#### 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.

#### Total

(transitive) To add up; to calculate the sum of.
When we totalled the takings, we always got a different figure.

#### Total

To equal a total of; to amount to.
That totals seven times so far.

#### Total

To demolish; to wreck completely. (from total loss)
Honey, I’m OK, but I’ve totaled the car.

#### Total

(intransitive) To amount to; to add up to.
It totals nearly a pound.

#### Total

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

#### Total

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

#### Total

To bring to a total; also, to reach as a total; to amount to.

#### Total

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

#### 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.

The whole amount

#### Total

Add up in number or quantity;
The bills amounted to \$2,000
The bill came to \$2,000

#### Total

Determine the sum of;
Add all the people in this town to those of the neighboring town

#### Total

Constituting the full quantity or extent; complete;
An entire town devastated by an earthquake
Gave full attention
A total failure

#### Total

Including everything;
The overall cost
The total amount owed

#### Total

Without conditions or limitations;
A total ban

#### Total

Complete in extent or degree and in every particular;
A full game
A total eclipse
A total disaster

## Common Curiosities

#### How do totals differ from subtotals?

Totals refer to the final aggregated amounts, while subtotals represent intermediate sums within a calculation.

#### Is there an adjective form of totals?

No, totals does not have an adjective form.

#### Can the word "total" indicate both partial and complete amounts?

No, "total" typically refers to complete or whole amounts.

#### What is an example of totals used in everyday conversation?

An example would be, "The totals from our group contributions are enough to fund the event."

#### Can the meaning of "total" change based on its grammatical role?

Yes, the meaning of "total" can vary significantly based on whether it is used as a noun, verb, or adjective.

#### Can totals be used as a verb?

No, totals cannot be used as a verb; it is strictly a noun.

#### Is "total" always numeric?

As a noun and verb, "total" is related to numbers, but as an adjective, it describes completeness in a non-numeric context.

#### What are totals commonly used for?

Totals are commonly used to refer to aggregated sums in accounting and statistics.

#### In what forms can "total" be used in a sentence?

"Total" can be used as a noun, adjective, or verb.

#### What does it mean when something is described as "total"?

When something is described as "total," it means it is complete or absolute in its state or extent.

#### How is the verb form of "total" commonly used?

The verb form of "total" is commonly used to describe the act of calculating the sum of numbers.

#### Can totals be singular?

No, totals is inherently plural as it refers to multiple sums or results.

#### In what scenarios is "total" typically used?

"Total" is used in scenarios ranging from mathematics to descriptions of control or loss.

#### How might one use "total" in a financial context?

In finance, "total" can refer to the overall amount of expenses, revenues, or other financial categories.

#### What distinguishes "total" from "complete"?

"Total" often refers to the entirety in a quantitative sense, while "complete" may also imply the finishing or perfection of something beyond just quantity.

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger