In today’s blog post, we are going to look at integers**:** what they are and how to add and subtract them.

Let’s start by understanding what integers really are:

Integers are numbers that aren’t a fraction or a decimal. These numbers include natural numbers (1, 2, 3…), negative numbers (-1, -2, -3…) and zero (0).

Integers can be represented on the number line. On the right side of the zero, are the natural numbers and on the left side, we can find the negative numbers.

###### Adding and Subtracting Negative Numbers

In order to learn how to add or subtract integers, we are going to use the number line.

- We need to find the first number on the number line.
- If we are adding, we count however many values the second number is towards the right.
- If we are subtracting, we count however many values the second number is towards the left.

**For example: 5 –9**

So, we need to locate the first number on the line.

If we are adding, we count however many values the second number is to the right. If we are subtracting, we count however many values the second number is to the left.

In this problem, we are subtracting, which means we need to count towards the left. The second number is 9, so we count 9 values to the left from 5.

**So, 5 – 9 = – 4**

###### Trick:

I’m going to show you guys a small trick. I hope it helps you to add and subtract more easily.

**If the two numbers have the same sign**, we add the two numbers without paying attention to the sign, and after adding, we’ll stick the sign that the numbers had back on the final answer. For example: – 2 – 5

Both of the numbers have the same sign, so we add them: 2 + 5 = 7. Now, we just add on the sign that the two numbers had to begin with, which is the negative sign (-). The final answer, then, is -7.

**If the two numbers have a different sign**, we just subtract them: the bigger number minus the smaller number. After, we add on whichever sign the big number had onto the answer. For example: 3 – 7

Both of the numbers have different signs, so we subtract the smaller one from the bigger one: 7 – 3 = 4. Now, we just add on the sign the bigger number had: -7 (negative). Our final answer is -4.

That concludes this week’s post. If you liked this post and want to learn more elementary math, try Smartick for free.

### Learn More:

- Locating Numbers on the Number Line
- Working with Decimals: Addition and Subtraction
- Learn 5 Tricks for Addition and Some Examples
- Learn the Signs of the Power: Positive or Negative
- Discovering Subtraction and Addition Tables

#### Latest posts by Smartick (see all)

- What Is an Angle? How Is It Made? - 10/14/2019
- Frustration and Failure as Instruments of Education - 10/11/2019
- Motivation – Evidence Based Education - 10/07/2019

## SocorroJun 06 2019, 9:14 PM

Whole numbers include natural numbers and zero. It does not include negative numbers. If it includes negative numbers, we call them integers, not whole numbers.

## SmartickJun 07 2019, 8:50 AM

Thank you so much.

After reading your comment we have reviewed and corrected the post.

Thanks again!