Sum / Amount

September 15, 2009
46 Views

Teresa from Hong Kong asks:

I would like to know the difference between the words “sum” and “amount”. They have similar meanings. I am really confused by their differences in usage. Thank you very much!

Mark Shea answers:

Hi Teresa, I liked your question. It’s a bit more complicated than it first appears.

If you look up ’sum’ in the dictionary – and I did – you’ll see that the first meaning given is “an amount of money”, so we might say that a million pounds is a very large sum, or that it is a substantial amount of money.

A sum of money and an amount of money are effectively the same thing. They’re also grammatically similar – they’re both countable nouns and have plurals: ’sums’ and ‘amounts’. But both words have other meanings too.

A sum is a calculation, for instance…
“I was never any good at sums at school”, I might say.
‘Sum’ can also mean ‘total’ – there was a film recently called “The Sum of all Fears”.
We can also use ‘the sum’ to suggest that all of something is not sufficient, for example:
“If that’s the sum of your ideas, I’m sorry I asked.” This means that the person is not happy with the ideas that they’ve been given.

(http://www.171english.cn/wordpress/?p=278)

Teresa from Hong Kong asks:

I would like to know the difference between the words “sum” and “amount”. They have similar meanings. I am really confused by their differences in usage. Thank you very much!

Mark Shea answers:

Hi Teresa, I liked your question. It’s a bit more complicated than it first appears.

If you look up ’sum’ in the dictionary – and I did – you’ll see that the first meaning given is “an amount of money”, so we might say that a million pounds is a very large sum, or that it is a substantial amount of money.

A sum of money and an amount of money are effectively the same thing. They’re also grammatically similar – they’re both countable nouns and have plurals: ’sums’ and ‘amounts’. But both words have other meanings too.

A sum is a calculation, for instance…
“I was never any good at sums at school”, I might say.
‘Sum’ can also mean ‘total’ – there was a film recently called “The Sum of all Fears”.
We can also use ‘the sum’ to suggest that all of something is not sufficient, for example:
“If that’s the sum of your ideas, I’m sorry I asked.” This means that the person is not happy with the ideas that they’ve been given.

(http://www.171english.cn/wordpress/?p=278)

You may be interested

How SAP Hana is Driving Big Data Startups
Big Data
298 shares3,060 views
Big Data
298 shares3,060 views

How SAP Hana is Driving Big Data Startups

Ryan Kh - July 20, 2017

The first version of SAP Hana was released in 2010, before Hadoop and other big data extraction tools were introduced.…

Data Erasing Software vs Physical Destruction: Sustainable Way of Data Deletion
Data Management
60 views
Data Management
60 views

Data Erasing Software vs Physical Destruction: Sustainable Way of Data Deletion

Manish Bhickta - July 20, 2017

Physical Data destruction techniques are efficient enough to destroy data, but they can never be considered eco-friendly. On the other…

10 Simple Rules for Creating a Good Data Management Plan
Data Management
69 shares664 views
Data Management
69 shares664 views

10 Simple Rules for Creating a Good Data Management Plan

GloriaKopp - July 20, 2017

Part of business planning is arranging how data will be used in the development of a project. This is why…