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Absolute Value




 
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More Lessons for Arithmetic

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The absolute value of a number describes the distance of the number on the number line from 0. It does not consider which direction from 0 the number lies. The absolute value of a number is always positive.


The absolute value of 3 is 3 which means that its distance from 0 is 3 units
 
The absolute value of  −3 is also 3 which means that its distance from 0 is 3 units
 
The symbol for absolute value is two straight lines || (called bars) surrounding the number or expression for which you wish to indicate absolute value.

For example:
| 6 | = 6 which means the absolute value of 6 is 6.
| 6 | = 6 which means the absolute value of -6 is 6.

| 3 7 | = | 4 | = 4

| 6 + 3(5) | = | 6 15 | = | 9 | = 9



Have a look at the following videos for more examples on absolute values:

It is important to note that the absolute value bars do NOT work in the same way as parentheses. Recall that − (−5) = (−1) × (−5) = +5.

However, for the absolute value it is done by removing the absolute bar and then performing the sign operation.
−| −5 | = −(+5) = (−1) × (+5) = −5


 

Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.


You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.


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