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I read this sentence and it confuses me: 

"Consumption of coffee in USA totals in 4 Kg per person." 

"USA totals" -- what does it mean?

  • In this case, it just means "amounts to" (4kg per person). The "in" is superfluous. – Mick Jan 9 '17 at 19:39
  • @Mick If "totals" is the main verb in that sentence (which I agree it is), then isn't the word "in" redundant ? – CatfishFTW Jan 9 '17 at 19:40
  • Yes, it is redundant. – Mick Jan 9 '17 at 19:43
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In the sentence "Consumption of coffee in USA totals 4 Kg per person" (the "in" in " totals in 4 Kg" is superfluous), the subject is "consumption of coffee in [the] USA", and the main verb is "totals". Since "consumption" is singular, the verb is also singular, while USA is plural.

The verb "to total" here means "to amount to" (as Mick already suggested in a comment).

One would normally write, "Consumption of coffee in the USA totals 4kg per person."

Some other examples of the verb "total":

  • "The latest available data estimates total alcohol consumption in the UK at 9.4 litres per head for those aged 15 years and older and 7.7 litres per head on average throughout the entire population in 2013." (Institute of Alcohol Studies)
  • "In a meta-analysis of ten randomised controlled trials that lasted eight weeks or more, totalling 608 adults with type 2 diabetes, researchers found mixed results for the impact of drinking tea, ..." (The Independent, 15 Dec. 2015)

You can also read the sentence as "In the USA, the total consumption of coffee per person is 4kg."

  • Is my sentence grammatically right? – CatfishFTW Jan 9 '17 at 19:49
  • The in is not redundant. It's a mistake: typo or unedited text. – Lambie Jan 9 '17 at 21:38
  • @Lambie The "in" in " totals in 4 Kg" is redundant. – Christophe Strobbe Jan 10 '17 at 11:36
  • @Christophe Strobbe Redundant means repetition in the same phrase. Not later in the sentence: Consumption of coffee in USA totals in 4 Kg per person. Redundant would be: Consumption of coffee in and inside the USA totals 4 Kg per person. That is redundancy. – Lambie Jan 10 '17 at 17:08
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It means that the total consumption of coffee in the U.S. is equal to four kilograms per person.

to total means to amount in number to a specified quantity.

Example:

The amount of money I spent on learning English in the past year totals $1,000.

What this example says is that I have spent in total $1,000 on English in the past year.

As for the supposed redundancy of in, you can't total 4 kg per person. You total an amount of something. You need a quantity. 4 kg per person is not exactly a quantity. That's why you need that in there.

  • Can you explain more? – CatfishFTW Jan 9 '17 at 19:48
  • The final "in" in the quoted sentence is ungrammatical, and a per-person total can be fine, as this alternative phrasing shows: "Per-person consumption of coffee in the USA totals 4 Kg". – Euan M Sep 10 '17 at 1:42

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