Minus - Definition with Examples

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What is Minus?

Minus sign is used in mathematics for multiple representations. 

  • Subtraction operation

         Minus represents the arithmetic operation of subtraction between two numbers. For example,  

subtraction operation

Minus sign also means taking something away from a given value. 

For example, Darby has 6 gingerbread with her and she gives 3 gingerbread to Kelly. 

So 6 minus 3 is equal to 3. Darby is left with 3 gingerbread.

subtraction operation example
  • To represent negative integers

        The minus sign is used to represent negative integers, whole numbers less than zero (no fractions).

to represent negative integers 

For representing a negative integer, add a negative sign in front of a whole number. 

For example, negative integer 3 is represented as: -3


  • Mathematical operations on integers using ‘Minus’ sign

        Multiplication of two negative numbers gives a positive. 

        Minus x Minus  = Positive

        For example,

         - 4 -10 = + 40


  • Use in measurement 

        For example, A temperature of  - 3˚ C means 3 degrees below zero.

        Another example, 

        The temperature is 4˚ C and then drops -10˚. What is the temperature now? 

         4 - 10 = -6

         The answer is -6˚C

use in measurement


  • To represent opposite directions

        We use the minus sign to represent a negative direction on a graph paper. 

to represent opposite directions

It also runs in the negative direction.

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