Main content

### Course: 8th grade > Unit 1

Lesson 5: Exponents with negative bases- Exponents with negative bases
- The 0 & 1st power
- Exponents with integer bases
- Exponents with negative fractional bases
- Even & odd numbers of negatives
- 1 and -1 to different powers
- Sign of expressions challenge problems
- Signs of expressions challenge
- Powers of zero

© 2024 Khan AcademyTerms of usePrivacy PolicyCookie Notice

# Even & odd numbers of negatives

We can figure out whether multiplication and division problems give us a positive or negative result by thinking about how many negative numbers are used in the computation.

## Want to join the conversation?

- Pos times a pos=pos right?(13 votes)
- Yes, lets say that you have a pos 7 and a pos 5, if you multiply it, it will be a pos 35(13 votes)

- My old maths teacher (who is now looking for a new job in a different country because of us)taught us this trick: (- is bad people)(+ is good

people)

+ PLUS + = Good things happening to the good people is bloody jolly good.

- PLUSE + = Bad things happening to the good people is bloody unfair.

- PLUSE - = Bad things happening to the bad people is bloody jolly good.

+ PLUSE - = Good things happening to the bad people is bloody unfair.

Our current maths teacher called her crazy when we told her how she taught us that.(16 votes)- It makes sense though.(5 votes)

- hi there, in one of the questions I got -11 to the power of 2, I wrote 121 as my answer, as u said if its a even number its going to be positive, but somehow I got it wrong?(5 votes)
- This is a bit tricky. When there are no parentheses, the negative sign is
**not**part of the base and is instead attached in the last step. So -11^2 = -121. If the problem instead had said (-11)^2, then 121 would have been correct.

Have a blessed, wonderful day!(10 votes)

- same signs=positive

different signs=negative(9 votes) - these comments are as Ancient as time lol(7 votes)
- why is it that negative and negative =positive, positive and positive= positive, negative and positive =negative, positive and negative= negative(5 votes)
- - and - combine to make a + sign'(4 votes)

- How does all this negative and positive multiplying relate to actual life?(0 votes)
- There are some great explanations about how negation works IRL, and here are some examples for you. Hope it helps!
**Paying bills**

Let's say you get five bills in the mail for seven dollars each. You'd have 5 x -7 dollars, or -35 more dollars, i.e. 35 fewer dollars.

But what if you had*sent out*five bills instead of getting them? Then, in a sense, you'd have gotten negative five bills, so you'd have -5 x -7 = 35 more dollars than you started with.

Imagine that you buy five gift certificates worth $5 each and pay for them using your credit card. You now owe money, so that's -$25.

The bill comes from the credit card company, but*I take it away from you*and insist on paying it. You now have $25 worth of gift certificates without having paid anything.

Taking away a debt is analogous to negating a negative. Taking away five debts of $5 (-5*-5) equals a gain of $25.

*Source:* http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.negxneg.html(13 votes)

- why is it that negative and negative =positive, positive and positive= positive, negative and positive =negative, positive and negative= negative(5 votes)
- how do you solve fractions(3 votes)
- Okay here's an example, (-2/3)^2 which would be the same thing as -2/3 * -2/3, and you just multiply across so -2/3 * -2/3 = 2*2/3*3, and remember, 2 negatives multiplied equals a positive(4 votes)

- You would get the same answer is you used pos instead of negs right?

EXAMPLE:

Odd # of Pos = Neg

Even # of Pos = Pos

Right?(3 votes)- Not exactly. Odd # of positives gives a positive answer. But you are correct that even # of positives gives a positive answer. So in summary, any number of positives (assuming all positives) will give positive, whether odd or even. The rule you are referring to only applies to negative numbers being multiplied or divided as a group.(3 votes)

## Video transcript

- [Voiceover] When we first learned to multiply and divide
positive and negative numbers, we saw, well look, if you have a positive number times a positive number. I'm just writing "pos" short for positive. Well that, of course, is going to be equal to a positive number that you saw that even before you learned about negative numbers. There's also true if
you had the same sign, a negative times a negative,
that that was also going to be equal to a positive number. And that the way that you
get a negative number, is if you multiply or divide
something of different signs. So if you have a positive times a negative that would give you a negative number. Or if you had a negative,
negative times a positive, that also would give
you a negative number. And here I wrote it for multiplication, but it also applies to division. A negative divided by
a negative is positive. A negative divided by a
positive would be negative. Now all of these, we thought about if we're only multiplying
or dividing two things. But I was just thinking about what happens if we multiply or divide three things, or four things, or five things, or n things together,
what we might expect? So let's say that we
were to multiply a times, and now I'm going to
write the dot for times. A times b times c, a times b times c. Now if I told you that these
were all positive numbers, then you say, "OK a
times b times c is going "to be positive." "A times b would be positive,
and that times c is positive." Now what would happen
if I were to tell you that they were all negative numbers. What if a, b, and c were all negative? Well if there were all negative,
let me write it that way. Let me actually write, let me write, a, b, and c, a, b, and c, they're all
going to be negative. So if that's the case,
what is this product going to be equal to? Well you're going to have a
negative here, times a negative. So a negative times a negative, a times b, if you do that first, and we can when we multiply these numbers. That's going to give you a positive. So a times b is going
to give you a positive. But then you're going to
multiply that times c. You're going to multiply that
times c, which is a negative. So you're going to have a
positive times a negative, which is going to be a negative. So this one, if a, b, and
c are all less than zero, then the product, a, b, c is going to be less than zero as well. This whole thing is going to be negative. Now, if I did something else. If I said, "There's other ways "that I can make the product negative." If a is, let's say that a, actually let me just write it this way. Let's say that a is
positive, b is negative. B is negative, and c is positive. And c is positive. Well here, positive times a
negative, if you do this first. Positive times a negative is
going to give you a negative. And then a negative times a positive, different signs, is going
to give you a negative. So this whole thing, this whole thing is
going to be a negative. But let's keep on doing, we said, look if all of them are negative, then this thing would be negative, but that's because I
had three numbers here. What if I had four numbers here? What if I had times, What if I had times d here? And if I told you all of
these numbers were negative? Let's think about it, if negative, negative, negative, negative. And I can do the
multiplication in any order, but I'll just go left to right. A times b, negative times a negative. That would yield a positive. Now if you multiply that product times c, positive times a negative,
positive times a negative, positive times a negative that
would give you a negative. And then you multiply this
negative times this negative, so this whole product, a, b,
c, is going to be negative. But then we multiply it times a negative. Well a negative times a negative
is going to be a positive. So this whole thing is
going to be a positive. And so you're probably
seeing a pattern here. If you're multiplying a bunch of numbers, if you're multiplying a bunch of numbers, and if you have an odd
number of negatives, odd number of negatives being multiplied, and or divided. I just did multiplication here, but this would have also been true if these were all division symbols. If these were all division symbols, we would've been able to
say the exact same thing. If you have an odd number
of negative numbers in your product or in your quotient, well then you're going to have a negative, you're going to have a negative value for the entire expression. If you have an even, if you have an even number of negative, well then the whole thing is going to be, the whole thing is going to be positive. And so you can view
these as generalizations of what we just saw here. Positive times a positive. You have zero negative. Zero is actually an even number,
so this would be positive. Negative times a negative. Well that's an even number of negatives. You have two negatives,
so that's this case again. That's this case again, so
you're going to be positive. Either of these cases,
you have one negative. You have one negative in
either of these cases, so it's going to be this
case, odd number of negatives. So that's going to be a negative. And so, we can use this
knowledge to start dealing with negative numbers and exponents. So if I were to say,
I would have a to the, let me throw out a wild number here, A to the 101st power, And we know that a is less than zero. What is this going to be? Well this is taking 101 A's
and multiplying them together. You have an odd number, an odd number of negatives being multiplied together? Well this whole then is going, this whole thing is going
to be less than zero. If we knew what a was, we
could calculate it somehow, but we know that this thing
is going to be negative. Let's do something, so, and
we could do it other ways. We could say something like this. Actually, let me try another one. What if I tell you that
a is less than zero, and b is also less than zero, and if I had a to the 101 power, divided by b to the seventh power, what would this expression be? Would it be positive or negative? Or zero, maybe? Well you see here, a to the 101st power. You have an odd number of, you have an odd number of
negative numbers being multiplied. So this whole thing is
going to be negative. And the same thing applies here. You have a negative
number to an odd power. You have an odd number of this negative number being multiplied together. So that's going to be negative, but then you have a negative
divided by a negative. A negative divided by a negative
is going to be a positive. So this thing, right here,
is going to be positive. So this is just the beginning,
and in the next few videos we'll actually do a bunch of examples that really test our
understanding of this.