# Thread: Sum or problem?

1. Newbie
Join Date
Oct 2007
Posts
23

## Sum or problem?

Can I say 'sum' about any maths problem, even if it's not with adding numbers?
t.e.: At maths lessons children do sums and learn to think logically.
(or should it here be better 'do maths problems'?)

Thank you in advance.

2. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Join Date
Nov 2002
Posts
40,110

## Re: Sum or problem?

I associate sums with arithmetic.

3. ## Re: Sum or problem?

Originally Posted by Romeo4755
Can I say 'sum' about any maths problem, even if it's not with adding numbers?
t.e.: At maths lessons children do sums and learn to think logically.
(or should it here be better 'do maths problems'?)

Thank you in advance.
Sums usually involve addition; saying 'sums' to mean 'maths' is childish. For example, in the first year of secondary school children have to be taught (often by peer pressure/ridicule) not to say 'sums' (which they used to say at primary school). My maths master used to use 'sums' in a jocular way to refer to maths, but he was always smiling when he said it.

b

4. Newbie
Join Date
Oct 2007
Posts
23

## Re: Sum or problem?

Thank you very much for the explanation and for the interesting situations illustrating it.

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