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entire total whole - a start

Posted by Word Camel on October 16, 2003

In Reply to: Please differ: entire total whole posted by sphinx on October 16, 2003

: He was so hungry that he ate up the whole cake.

: Why should we use whole here?

Greetings, friend Sphinx.

The reason you should use "whole" here is to indicate that he was so hungry he ate the entire cake, not simply a slice or two. You could use "entire" here as well. "Total" is used when referring to a number of items considered together.

Here are a few examples:
"The total number of cupcakes is ten. He ate ten cup cakes in total. He ate the entire box of ten cup cakes. He ate the entire cake. He at the Whole box of cupcakes.

I'm sure there is a more formal way to express this difference which I'll leave to people who are better at expressing this than I am. I hope though this helps to illustrate the difference in the way these words are used.