Positive numbers
Positive numbers are
numbers that are greater than zero.
Numbers can be positive, negative or zero. Zero is neither positive nor negative. Positive numbers are the ones you most encounter in everyday life, such as 34, 9.22, etc. When shown on a number line, they are the ones usually drawn on the right of zero, getting larger as you move to the right
Try this
Adjust the arrow to see how positive numbers lie to the right of zero on the number line. The applet
will not allow you to set the arrow to zero or a negative number.
The '+' sign
Positive numbers usually have no
sign
in front of them. So a number like 67 is taken to mean a positive number.
In case of doubt however, a '+' sign can be placed in front to firmly distinguish it from a
negative number.
Example +65, +0.2.
A positive number such as 6 can be spoken as 'six' , 'positive six' or sometimes 'plus six',
although 'plus' is usually used to mean add.
'+' also means 'add'
One unfortunate thing in math is that the '+' symbol is used for two different things. It signifies a positive number, as described above, but it also means 'add' or 'plus'. For example
2+3 means 'two plus three' with a result of 5. Here, the plussign means addition.
The same confusion happens with the minus ( – ) sign. See
Negative numbers.
See also Doing arithmetic with positive and negative numbers.
Try to avoid 'plus'
Strictly speaking, 'plus' means addition. This is a completely different idea to 'positive'.
Sometimes, when talking about a positive number such as +4, people will say 'plus four'. This in not correct. Train yourself to say 'positive four' instead.
Numbers can be positive, negative or zero. Negative numbers are less than zero and usually mean a value that is a deficit ot shortage. Also can mean a number below some arbitrary reference point. When shown on a number line, they are the ones usually drawn on the left of zero.
An overview of the types of numbers that are used in math. Links to other pages explaining each type in depth. Explains also that some numbers are not numbers at all.
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Other number topics
Scalar numbers
Counting numbers
Numbers that have factors
Special values
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