How to Add Negative Numbers

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Summary

How to Add Negative Numbers

Positive + Negative

  1. The sign of the answer will match the sign of the "bigger" number. 
  2. Subtract the absolute value of the numbers.

Negative + Negative

  1. The sign of the answer will be negative.
  2. Add the absolute values of the numbers.

Why It Works

Negative numbers and positive numbers are opposites and when you add them together, they cancel each other out. 

I like to use fire and ice as an analogy to understand why negative numbers are added the way they are. 

The fire represents a positive number and the ice represents a negative number. When you put a fire and a block of ice together, the fire melts the ice and the water puts out the fire, neutralizing both. 

\(-5+3=-2\)

\(-1+4=3\)

\(-2+-5=-7\)

Examples

Resources


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