‘Totaled' or 'Totalled': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on November 29, 2022

When you crash your car, is it ‘totaled’ or ‘totalled’? Wondering what the difference is between these two words? We can help you figure that out. Plus, we’ll teach you how to use the correct version of the word in a sentence.

Don’t feel like waiting around for the answer. The correct answer is that ‘totaled’ is the correct American English spelling of the word. ‘Totalled’ is the British spelling of the word.

‘Totaled’ or ‘Totalled’ – What’s the Difference?

As you just learned, the difference between ‘totaled’ and ‘totalled’ is the former is a recognized word in the American English language, and the latter is more acceptable in British English.

‘Totaled’/’Totaling’ vs. ‘Totalled/Totalling’

The same goes for other versions of the word. ‘Totaled’ and ‘totaling’ are both American English spellings, and ‘totalled’ and ‘totalling’ are both British spellings of the word.

Definition and Meaning

Now that we know that one version is American English and the other British English and that they can be used interchangeably, depending on your audience, let’s quickly define the word ‘total/totaled.’

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word is: “comprising or constituting a whole: entire,” “absolute, utter,” and “involving a complete and unified effort especially to achieve the desired effect.”

It also means: “a product of addition: sum” and “an entire quantity: amount.”

As a verb, it means: “to add up: complete,” “to amount to: number,” “to make a total wreck of: demolish,” and “specifically: to damage so badly that the cost of repairs exceeds the market value of the vehicle,” and “totally.”

Synonyms of the word include:

  • Absolute
  • Blank
  • Categorical
  • Complete
  • Damn
  • Deadly
  • Dreadful
  • Flat-Out
  • Crashing
  • Stark

Similar Confusing Words

In the English language, there are often two different spellings of a word (one British and one American) that sound the same and mean the same thing. Usually, it’s just one letter off. Let’s see some examples.

Mom vs. Mum

In American English, we spell the word ‘mom,’ but in British English, the word is spelled ‘mum.’ But they mean the same thing.

Center vs. Centre

Similar to mom and mum, center has both an American English spelling and a British English spelling. ‘Center’ is American, and ‘centre’ is British.

Organization vs. Organisation

Another example of the American versus British English spelling is ‘organization’ and ‘organisation.’ Can you guess which one is the American spelling? It’s the one with the ‘z.’ We tend to use a ‘z’ where they use an ‘s.’ 

How to Use ‘Totaled’ and ‘Totalled’ in a Sentence Correctly

Now that we know the difference between the two words and how to define both let’s look at some examples of how to use the words correctly in a sentence.

Check out a few examples of how to use ‘totaled’ in a sentence:

  • After the accident, my car was totaled. There was no recovering it.
  • She totaled her car after crashing it, going 100 miles per hour.

In the present tense, you’d use the word like this:

  • The total population of Los Angeles has increased significantly in the last few years.
  • My total at Sephora came to $600! But that’s my prerogative.

To use 'totalled,' you'd simply replace it in any of these example sentences.

Final Thoughts on ‘Totaled’ and ‘Totalled’

Since we’ve learned that ‘totaled’ and ‘totalled’ mean the same thing, but that one is American English and the other British English, you should be clear on which is correct for you to use based on where you live.

If you have trouble, remember that American words tend to use a ‘z,’ where British words use an ‘s.’

But you can always come back here and browse our library of content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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