# When can I use "sum", "amount" and "total"?

I think they can be synonymous in some context, but how to learn in which context I can use one and not another? Can you explain and give example about the precise meaning.

amount

is only a number expressing a quantity

sum

is the result of adding numbers together

total

is the result of calculation, not necessarily by addition

Sum and total are amounts.
A sum is a total amount through addition.
A total is a cumulative amount.

2 + 4 + 5, sum is 11, total is 11, amount is 11
2 *4 *5, total is 40, amount is 40, there is no sum since it is multiplication

Sum:

The most common meaning for the word sum is the result of the addition of two or more numbers/items.

• The sum of 1 and -22 is -21

Or the action of doing the addition.

• Can you sum these two numbers for me?

The other meaning is a particular amount of money.

• They can't afford this sum. (In this example we can also use the word amount: They can't afford this amount.)

Amount:

Noun: It means a quantity of something

• The amount of oxygen in air.

And is usually used when talking about money

• He bets a huge amount on the lottery.

Verb: to come out to be/to total

• She won't amount to anything in her life.
• The loss amounts/sums/totals to three billion.

Total:

Noun: complete/overall

• His party was a total failure.
• She won a total of three competitions.

Verb: As a verb, total and amount are synonyms.