What is the difference between saying "number of times that user accessed the site" vs "total number of times that user accessed the site"?

I feel that they mean the same thing but could not find a resource to support my assumption.

  • "Total" might be useful if the context is somehow ambiguous.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 11, 2022 at 1:26

1 Answer 1


They very well may.

Context is sort of key here.

If I asked you, "What's the number of times you used the restroom?" there is a nuanced but appreciable difference than, "what's the total number of times you've used the restroom?"

Whereas "what's the number of bugs in the software?" would sound identical to "what's the total number of bugs in the software?" in my opinion, at least.

In your specific example, I'd read it to mean it's asking for the superset. "What's the number of fish at the aquarium?" vs "What's the total number of fish at the aquarium?" The former I'd interpret as the number of species. The latter the count of individuals.

  • I would interpret the fish examples the same -- I don't think the first form implies species.
    – Barmar
    May 12, 2022 at 23:35
  • Fair enough. Does this mean you find the other examples acceptable? Have you an alternative illustrative suggestion?
    – NerdyDeeds
    May 20, 2022 at 19:14
  • I don't agree with the premise in the OP that there's a distinction.
    – Barmar
    May 20, 2022 at 19:16

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