Positive numbers are
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
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
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
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 plus-sign means addition.
The same confusion happens with the minus ( – ) sign. See
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.
While you are here..
... I have a small favor to ask. Over the years we have used advertising to support the site so it can remain free for everyone.
However, advertising revenue is falling and I have always hated the ads. So, would you go to Patreon and become a patron of the site?
When we reach the goal I will remove all advertising from the site.
It only takes a minute and any amount would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for considering it! – John Page
Become a patron of the site at patreon.com/mathopenref
Other number topics
Numbers that have factors
(C) 2011 Copyright Math Open Reference. All rights reserved