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I would like to know if I should use making a total of or totalizing to express a sum of elements such as in the following sentence:

The study included 30 hospitals and 3 clinics. For ease of communication, the 3 clinics will henceforth be regarded as hospitals, making a total of / totalizing 33 hospitals.

  • Personally I think totalizing here is just inappropriate use of jargon. But with ...regarded as one of the hospitals it doesn't make sense anyway (that approach would lead me to expect a total of 31 hospitals, not 33). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 17:42
  • Thanks for your comment @FumbleFingers. You are wright. "regarded as one of the hospitals" doesn't make sense. I've rewrote the sentence. Is it correct now? – R. Joe Jan 31 at 17:49
  • Yeah, that's better. But as to the substance of your question as now revised, if each clinic is to be counted as a hospital anyway, I honestly can't see why you'd risk insulting your reader by implying he needs your help to add 30 and 3 together. At least with the original phrasing (if the final total were changed to 31) you could justify it on the grounds that you're clarifying the effect of the analytical approach. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 17:56
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"Making a total of" is acceptable, but a little verbose.

Your other option uses a similar looking verb that has an incorrect meaning. Totalize means⁰ "to comprehend in a way that includes everything" but you intend to convey "amounts to a sum of" which would be "totaling." So your sentence would best be written:

The study included 30 hospitals and 3 clinics. For ease of communication, the 3 clinics will henceforth be regarded as hospitals, totaling 33 hospitals.


⁰Commenters have suggested that, in some places, totalize can indeed mean "amounts to a sum of." This may be true but using it in this way risks confusing readers who understand its meaning only as I have indicated. So, even if it's technically acceptable for some, it is best not to use it in this way.

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    I too have only heard totalizing used in the way you describe, but apparently dictionaries do include definitions of totalize with the meaning "to total." – Juhasz Jan 31 at 18:08
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    I agree with this answer-- As a US English speaker, I've always heard totalize to mean comprehend broadly, and totalizing to mean comprehensive (as in a "totalizing world view"). I have never seen "to totalize" to mean "to add up to." For that, I've always seen "to total." – Katy Jan 31 at 19:06
  • @juh Good to know! I've gone ahead and added a note to this effect. – rpeinhardt Jan 31 at 19:39
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I think "totalizing" is the best choice here, though I don't think I would use either of those. Instead, I would use "totaling" or "for a total of":

... the 3 clinics will henceforth be regarded as hospitals, for a total of 33 hospitals.

... the 3 clinics will henceforth be regarded as hospitals, totaling 33 hospitals.

I don't think "totalizing" is grammatically incorrect (it's a word, after all), but it's not commonly used in my experience.

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