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Subtracting negative numbers review

Review the basic of subtracting negative numbers and try some practice problems.

Subtracting negative numbers

Subtracting a number is the same as adding the opposite of the number.
Let's look at two examples:
Note: In both examples, we change subtraction to addition and changed the sign of the second number to the opposite sign.
Want to know why this works? Check out this video.
Once we have an addition problem, we can solve.

Example 1: negative negative

Lets subtract 5(6).
Step 1: Rewrite as an addition problem
Step 2: Start at the first number in the addition problem, in this case 5:
Step 3: Move 6 places to the right. We move 6 to the right because adding positive 6 increases our number by 6.
5+6 takes us to 1 on the number line.

Example 2: negative positive

Lets subtract 47.
Step 1: Rewrite as an addition problem
Step 2: Start at the first number in the addition problem, in this case 4:
Step 3: Move 7 places to the left. We move 7 to the left because adding negative 7 decreases our number by 7.
4+(7) takes us to 11 on the number line.
Want to learn more about subtracting negative numbers? Check out this video.


Problem 1
  • Your answer should be
  • an integer, like 6
  • a simplified proper fraction, like 3/5
  • a simplified improper fraction, like 7/4
  • a mixed number, like 1 3/4
  • an exact decimal, like 0.75
  • a multiple of pi, like 12 pi or 2/3 pi

Want to try some more subtracting negative numbers problems? Check out this exercise.

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