Adding and Subtracting Positive and Negative Integers

The best way to learn how to add and subtract positive and negative numbers is to look at a lot of examples.
Here is an explanation of how to do it, though.
First of all, a positive number can be written with a plus sign in front of it, like a negative number is written with a minus sign in front. But for a positive number, the plus sign can be left off.
The absolute number of a negative number is that number without the minus sign, which is positive. The absolute value of a positive number is the same positive number.
So the absolute values of are .
You add and subtract positive and negative numbers using three basic ideas:
(1) Subtracting a negative number is the same as adding its absolute value.
For example, .
(2) If the two numbers have the same sign, add their absolute values and keep the sign.
For example, and .
(3) If the two number have different signs, either add or subtract their absolute values, keeping track of the signs using (1).
For example, .
Another example: .



  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]


    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.

Related Curriculum Standards

US Common Core State Standards, Mathematics