minus n u m b e r s plus sign


Adding And Subtracting Positive And Negative Numbers

When you have finished this page, try the Adding and Subtracting of Positive and Negative Numbers Quiz.

When one thinks about adding and subtracting numbers, it is really the act of combining numbers or the amounts they represent. To see how closely they are related. let's look at some examples and perhaps challenge some beliefs you may have about both processes.

In the first example, the ball moves from zero start point to two and then moves down three more to the number five.

I 2 + 3= 5 animation


In the next example, we see a traditional subtraction problem. The ball is at the starting point of zero and then goes to five and then back three places as indicated by the minus sign. The stopping point is the number two.


5-3 = 2 animation


The next example is quite unlike any other problem - both numbers on the left side of the equation have minus signs - they are both negative numbers. From the zero starting point, the first number goes three places to the left on the negative side of the number line and then two more places further to the left to the number five place. While this looks like a subtraction problem, it also seems like an addition problem - of negative numbers. Thus, one can see how closely addition and subtraction are - they are merely the combining of positive and negative numbers.

-3-2=-5 animation


If we look at the next equation, we see that it is very much like the subtraction problem in the second example, but written with the first two numbers in reverse, Again, it is the process of combining the numbers rather than strictly adding or strictly subtracting the numbers. The ball begins at the zero start point and goes to the left a negative three places. It then goes right from the negative three place five places and stops at the two place on the right side of the number line.

-3+5=2 animation


Algebra Main Page Positive & Negative Numbers Addition & Subtraction of Positive & Negative Numbers Multiplication of Positive & Negative Numbers Division of Positive & Negative Numbers Order of Operations
Exponents Scientific Notation Equations 1 Equations 2 Equations 3

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