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Thread: Sum or problem?

  1. #1
    Romeo4755 is offline Newbie
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    Default 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. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Sum or problem?

    I associate sums with arithmetic.

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Sum or problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romeo4755 View Post
    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. #4
    Romeo4755 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Sum or problem?

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

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