0

I'm a newbie to investing and I was doing some research regarding the difference between stocks and shares. According to Investopedia stock simply refers to partial ownership of a company, whereas a share is partial ownership of a specific company. However, I've also heard stock being defined as the entirety of shares of a company. So my question is, if I say "I own stocks", it simply means "I have partial ownership of one or more (unspecified) companies" and not "I own the entirety of shares of several companies", right?

2
  • 1
    This is arguably a question for an English-language stack rather than here, but.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 13:52
  • 1
    There are also different classes of stock
    – littleadv
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 17:09

1 Answer 1

5

The business definition of stock is a quantity of goods or merchandise.

And one of the definitions of share is “a fraction” (like when you get your fair share of a pie).

Now, generalize that to a quantity of pieces of paper saying that you own a fraction of a company. Of course now that’s all digital, but there was a time when you actually got a certificate saying that you, John Q Everyman, owned 100 shares of AT&T.

That’s why I own shares of stock in AT&T. Saying that I own AT&T stock is shorthand for owning shares of stock.

5
  • 1
    "I own [some number of shares of] XYZ stock". I also own [] land, [] paintings, and [] computers.". Leaving the quantity and unit of measure unspecified when not immediately relevant is a fairly common English idiom; it's not just shares of stock which may be phrased this way. This is a language question, not an investment question.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 1:40
  • @keshlam most people who own land, paintings and computers don't (explicitly) own shares of land, paintings and computers. Thus, I think your example is invalid.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 4:52
  • Just a matter of appropriate units. Shares, acres, number of prints out of a series or portfolio... We agree that we disagree.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 5:31
  • @keshlam "Just a matter of appropriate units". No. They are fundamentally different, since shares are fractions of whole ownership, while an acre is not a fraction of anything.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 5:42
  • Most of us own fractional acres, at least in my area of the world. And those were subdivided from larger units of land. Ok, I grant shares are fungible while the others typically aren't, but I'm not convinced that's a linguistic difference, just a different context. Your mileage will vary.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 5:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .