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is -0.5 larger than 0.5?

Guest Jun 6, 2014

Best Answer 

 #3
avatar+889 
+5

You need to define exactly what you mean by 'larger'.

You might take it to mean magnitude, (in which case -0.5 is as large as 0.5) or you might take CPhill's dollars argument or Melody's line that all negative numbers are smaller than all positive numbers.

As an alternative, in electrostatics there are things called point charges, and they can be positive or negative. So, if I have a positive point charge of +9 and a negative point charge of -40, which is the larger ? I would say that it was the -40, (but it comes down to a matter of definition).

Bertie  Jun 7, 2014
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4+0 Answers

 #1
avatar+81022 
+5

Would you rather have -$40 or $40 in your checking account ?? Can a negative be greater than a positive??

 

CPhill  Jun 6, 2014
 #2
avatar+91451 
+5

 

It is a good idea to think about a number line when you deal with negative and positive numbers.

What is the biggest number 14 is, it is furthest over towards the right.

(14 is really +14 the positive sign is just invisable but it really is there!)

Any number to the left of 14 is smaller than 14

So, ALL the negative numbers are smaller than aLL the positive numbers!

Melody  Jun 7, 2014
 #3
avatar+889 
+5
Best Answer

You need to define exactly what you mean by 'larger'.

You might take it to mean magnitude, (in which case -0.5 is as large as 0.5) or you might take CPhill's dollars argument or Melody's line that all negative numbers are smaller than all positive numbers.

As an alternative, in electrostatics there are things called point charges, and they can be positive or negative. So, if I have a positive point charge of +9 and a negative point charge of -40, which is the larger ? I would say that it was the -40, (but it comes down to a matter of definition).

Bertie  Jun 7, 2014
 #4
avatar+91451 
0

I doubt that the asker of this question was looking for your take but thank you Bertie.

Melody  Jun 8, 2014

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