1

I often use the expression "total N people/things/etc." to mean "N sth in total", but English is not my native language, and that expression actually comes from translating 1:1 what I'd say in my native language. Are the following, acceptable English sentences?

  • I wasted total 100 dollars in that stupid game.
  • There are total 100 people in queue.
  • Total 10GB of data has been corrupted.
4
  • IMHO, the only problem with those sentences is with the use of the word total like that. And corrupted? Are you sure you're using the right word there?
    – user40475
    Jan 7 at 12:11
  • 1
    @user405662 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_corruption
    – xiver77
    Jan 7 at 12:12
  • No, these don't sound idiomatic and are arguably unacceptable. And 'I wasted 100 dollars in total in that stupid game' sounds less idiomatic than say 'I wasted no less than 100 dollars in that stupid game'. Also note that article usage needs addressing: 'There are 100 people in the queue.' / 'There are a total of 100 people on waiting lists.' Jan 7 at 12:14
  • 1
    More common (at least in the U.S.) is "N total" instead of "total N". Thus: "I wasted 100 total dollars in that stupid game." "There are 100 total people in queue." However, "10GB" isn't an adjective, so: "10GB in total of data has been corrupted." Jan 7 at 19:58

1 Answer 1

3

These are rather unidiomatic.

Better would be

I wasted a total of 100 dollars in that game.

The redundant phrase "a total of" serves to emphasise the amount, and perhaps indicates that perhaps you didn't lose the money in one play. You are including all the times you played the games.

Similarly "a total of 100 people in the queue" would emphasise that we are being inclusive of all people (perhaps we are including babies, for example)

Often, "a total of" is redundant. It can be quite natural at times, especially in spoken English. But you can tighten your written English by removing such phrases.

1
  • 1
    There is also some question about “in” vs “on”: I wasted a total of 100 dollars on that stupid game. Context would determine which to use, but I’d guess that “on” would have a higher probability of being correct.
    – Jim
    Jan 7 at 16:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .