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Positive & Negative Numbers

Numbers can either be positive or negative. Often brackets are put around negative numbers to make them easier to read, e.g. (-2). If a number is positive, the + is usually missed out before the number. So 3 is really (+3). Adding and multiplying combinations of positive and negative numbers can cause confusion and so care must be taken.

Addition and Subtraction

Two 'pluses' make a plus, two 'minuses' make a plus. A plus and a minus make a minus.

Example

3 + (-2) A plus and a minus make a minus, so this is the same as 3 - 2 = 1

Example

(-2) + (-5) = -7 This is the same as (-2) - 5 = -7

This video explains more about how this works

Multiplication and Division

  • If two positive numbers are multiplied together or divided, the answer is positive.
  • If two negative numbers are multiplied together or divided, the answer is positive.
  • If a positive and a negative number are multiplied or divided, the answer is negative.

Examples

  • (-2) ÷ (-4) = ½
  • (8) ÷ (-2) = (-4)
  • 2 × (-3) = (-6)
  • (-2) × (-2) = 4

This video explains how to multiply negative numbers

This video shows you how to divide negative numbers