# Positive and Negative Numbers - What Numbers Mean

We use numbers to show how many or how much there is of something:

• People have 2 eyes
• There are 5 toes on a foot
• There are 7 days in a week
• There are 12 inches in a yard
• You have 15 pennies in your pocket ... and so on

We use positive numbers to show these things. Up until now we probably haven't said "positive numbers" ; we've just said "numbers".

We show positive numbers with a + sign

+5 means positive five

We usually don't say "positive" even though that is what we mean so...

5 is the same as +5

### Using Negative Numbers

• The temperature is 12 degrees colder than yesterday
• I owe my sister 6 dollars
• My friend wants to lose 10 pounds
• The car was driving 5 miles per hour under the speed limit

Negative numbers are less than zero

We need numbers to represent these things too. We use negative numbers.

We show negative numbers with a - sign

-7 means negative seven

Sometimes people say "minus seven" instead of "negative seven" - they both mean the same

Negative numbers let us show values without using lots of words. Negative numbers are useful for calculations.

 Using Words With Negative Numbers A golfer scored 70 on a par 72 course (two under par) Her score was -2 A man owed \$500 to the bank His balance was -\$500 The quarterback gets sacked and the team loses 15 yards. The team is -15 yards on the play The temperature changed from 10 degrees above zero during the day to 10 below zero at night There was a -20 degree change in temperature

### Negative numbers are less than zero

The number line below shows how negative numbers go to the left of zero. By Subject > Integers > Positive and Negative Numbers