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Intro to absolute value

Learn how to think about absolute value as distance from zero, and practice finding absolute values.
The absolute value of a number is its distance from 0.
For example, the absolute value of 4 is start color #11accd, 4, end color #11accd:
This seems kind of obvious. Of course the distance from 0 to 4 is start color #11accd, 4, end color #11accd. Where absolute value gets interesting is with negative numbers.
For example, the absolute value of minus, 4 is also start color #11accd, 4, end color #11accd:

Let's practice!

Problem 1A
• Current
What is the absolute value of 3?

The absolute value symbol

The symbol for absolute value is a bar vertical bar on each side of the number.
"the absolute value of minus, 6"
we can just write
vertical bar, minus, 6, vertical bar.

Let's practice!

Problem 2A
• Current
What is vertical bar, 7, vertical bar?

Want to join the conversation?

• wouldn't the question -(-7+4)it is absolute, be-11?
• Not quite -

Here's the expression: -|-7 + 4|

First, start by working out the expression inside the absolute value bars:
-|-7 + 4|
-|-3|

Then, take the absolute value of the number inside the bars:
-|-3|
-(3)
-3

-|-7 + 4| = -3

Hope this helps!
• What is absolute value in real-life scenarios?
• Absolute values are used when we work with distances. Distances are positive values.

For example: A diver is -15 deep (this places him 15 feet below the surface of the water). How far does he need to travel to get to the surface? He needs to travel |-15| = 15 feet.
Hope this helps.
• how is a<|a| shouldn't a=|a| as they are the same distance from 0?
• a was a negative number while absolute a was a positive number therefore a is less than positive a
• this doesn't totally make sense to me.
• So absolute value is the distance a number has from 0. It can never be negative. So lets say that an editor needs to go back -3 pages. The absolute value would be 3. He/she would need to go back 3 pages since there are no negative pages. Hope this helps!
• Would -(-9+3) it be absolute -12
• How do we use absolute value in the real world
• Any time we want to find the total amount, such as the total distance traveled, rather than the destination. For instance, let's say I take 10 steps forward, then turn around and take 10 steps back to my original spot. In the end, it means I did not actually move at all. 10 plus negative 10 = 0. But in this case, I want to find how steps I took in total. So I take the absolute value of both numbers, and now discover that 10 plus 10 equals 20, because I took a total 20 steps.
• If they ask for the absoulte value of 8, is the answer going to be positive 8?
• Yes, because an absolute value can never be a negative number, it can only be positive.
(1 vote)
• i wonder who was like "hmmm lets put lines beside this number and that will mean absaloot value"
• This is for the students who are confused on how absoulute value works. My first example: think of a integer, the definition of a integer is a positive whole number. So if we say the absoulute value of -2, think of it as what is -2 swicthed as a integer. Please upvote me if this helped.