Greater than & Less than

In these lessons, we learn how to compare numbers, whether a number is greater than or less than another number.

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Related Pages
Comparing & Ordering Numbers
Comparing Numbers Worksheet
More Lessons for Arithmetic
Math Worksheets

Sometimes, we may be asked to compare numbers. We may need to determine whether a particular number is greater than or less than another number.

For more practice comparing numbers using the symbols (<, >, =), you could go to our Interactive Math Zone where you can generate worksheets according to your needs and get them marked online.

The following diagram shows how the number line can be used to compare numbers. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions on how to compare numbers.

Number Line

Using the Number Line

We could use a number line to help us compare numbers. On a number line, a number to the right is always greater than a number that is to the left.


For example,
3 is greater than 1 because it is to the right of 1
–2 is greater than –4 because it is to the right of –4

Greater than & Less than symbols

The symbols used for greater than and less than are:

> means ‘greater than’
< means ‘less than’

10 > 6 (read as 10 is greater than 6)
– 3 < 1 ( read as –3 is less than 1 )

Write the relationship between each pair of numbers using the symbols ‘<’ or ‘>’.
a) –2, –5
b) 0.35, 0.4

a) –2 > –5
b) 0.35 < 0.4

Take note that:

x < y is the same as y > x

For example:
10 > 8 is equivalent to 8 < 10
–2 < –1 is equivalent to –1 > –2

Greater than and less than using the number line and place values

Real Numbers, Greater Than and Less Than

Number Gators (Greater Than, Equal and Less Than Symbols Song)
here was an alligator in the swamp,
Who’d sneak up on numbers and start to chomp,
Whenever two numbers sat on the ground,
She’d face the bigger one, and gobble it down!

Number gators like to eat what’s greater
They turn their backs on what is less.
Their mouths open wide, for the bigger side.
And they munch down the whole great mess.

When there are two numbers that are the same,
The gator changes form and she swaps her name.
Because she isn’t sure exactly how to dine.
She stands right in the middle, as an equal sign.

Try the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice various 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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