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  • We have three apples all total.
  • All total, we have 75 bananas.
  • How many cucumbers do we have all total?

I have heard many sentences like this. I always wonder, is this grammatically correct?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I think you have misheard the phrase all told. This means counting everything / everyone, e.g.

There were 500 passengers, all told.

Either that or this is an eggcorn of all told.

I have not been able to get an NGram for all total that is relevant, since the phrase pops up in many circumstances. Also, I've not been able to find instances in google books that use all total the way you have.

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This. Just the word I was thinking of. +1. –  Robusto May 3 '12 at 11:47
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+1. Note that the definition you link to says, "This idiom, first recorded in 1850, uses the verb tell in the sense of "count." However, I found a reprint of a publication, Rare Americana: A Catalogue of Historical and Geographical Books, Pamphlets, & Decorative Maps Relating to America, originally published in 1684 that uses all told in the sense of a count. –  JLG May 3 '12 at 12:13
    
@JLG: Cf. "teller" — someone who counts out money in a bank. –  Robusto May 3 '12 at 12:57
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The Eggcorn Database recognizes this as a known eggcorn: eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/559/total –  Ben Hocking May 3 '12 at 14:53
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Or you heard correctly, @Jae, and the people speaking were using an eggcorn –  Matt Эллен May 3 '12 at 18:48
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No. It's either "in all" or "in total", you cannot use both "all" and "total".

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Why not? There's no rule against using both. All total does not seem ungrammatical to me (native AmE speaker), though it is less familiar than all in total or all totaled up. –  aedia λ May 3 '12 at 20:41
    
"seem" and "grammatical" do not agree. :-) –  Kris May 3 '12 at 20:53
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I mean that it is grammatical for me, whereas it might not be for you; different speakers will have different grammaticality judgments for something like this that may be regional or have started as an eggcorn. While you're right that in all and in total are some of the most universally understood alternatives, cannot use is perhaps a harsh proscription to describe something people are already doing (all and total together). :) –  aedia λ May 3 '12 at 21:16
    
Lots of people are said be increasingly saying "I graduated the university" -- no typo there. We've to wait till the authorities declare that as grammatical (or otherwise). –  Kris May 3 '12 at 22:57
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