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# Why is it that you can subtract a negative number and add a positive number?

Updated: 10/26/2022

Wiki User

11y ago

It means that you really increase the number that you were subtracting from, because you are adding to it the opposite of the number that is subtracted.

Think about your bank account. Let's say you withdrew \$50 more than the amount of money that you had in your checking account. The bank statement will show a negative account of yours as - 50. If you deposit \$30, then you can add 30 (which is the opposite of -30) to -50 to calculate your balance, or you can subtract -30 from -50, because from those "negative" money you took of some of them. So that, -50 - (-30) = -50 + 30 = -20 (your balance). Now, deposit \$20 dollars more to subtract that -20 from your statement.

Wiki User

11y ago

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Q: Why is it that you can subtract a negative number and add a positive number?
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Related questions

### Do you add or subtract when you have a negative number and a positive?

Subtract and add the sign of the greater number.

### How do you subtract a positive and negative number?

You have to take the negative sign away from the negative number and add them.

### How do you subtract a positive number by a negative number?

A little awkwardly phrased, so I'll answer both ways. To subtract a negative from anything, add its positive. To subtract a positive from a negative, the equation is treated as though you are adding two postives, the result is negative.

### What is your positive and negative?

positive is to add and negative is to subtract in math

### Do you subtract when its a negative plus a positive?

No, you add the positive to the negative.

### What do you do when subtracting a positive and a negative?

If you subtract a negative from a positive, add both of their absolute values. If you subtract a positive from a negative, add both of their absolute values and multiply by negative one.

### Is a negative subtracted from a positive will it be a positive answer?

Yes. to subtract a negative is to add that number, so the number will be higher than the first number which is positive and can't go below zero.

### If you add a positive and a negative number how can you tell whether the answer will be positive negative or equal?

If the negative number is bigger then the answer will be negative If the bigger number is positive then the answer will be positive. All you do is subtract the two numbers and take the sign of the bigger number Ex (+2)+(-7)=(-5)

### Why do 2 negatives equal a positive?

On the number line if you subtract a positive you move left. If you add a positive you move right. If add a negative you move left. If you subtract a negative you move right. That is just how I learned it. I don't know a wordy explanation.

### How do you know if a number will be positive or negative when adding?

Numbers are positive unless they have a minus sign (-) in front of them, in which case they are negative. As for the sum of positive and negative numbers, just add them up and find out. Add the positive, subtract the negative. It's very logical.

### When you have a negative and positive in math does it become a negative?

It depends on what you do with the negative and positive. If you multiply or divide a positive number and a negative number, then the answer is negative. If you add or subtract a positive number and a negative number, the answer could be negative or positive depending on the numbers involved. If you put a negative sign in front of a positive number, the result is a negative number. If you put a positive sign in front of a negative number (like +(-7)), the result is still negative.