Absolute Value

Key Questions

  • Because it is a convenient way to make sure that a quantity is nonnegative; for example, you can define the distance between two real numbers #a# and #b# as #|a - b|#.

    I hope that this was helpful.

  • The absolute value of a number is simply the distance that number lies away from 0 on the number line. Absolute value eliminates the "direction" traveled to get there. It's like saying that you walked 3 meters frontward versus 3 meters backward. You walked 3 meters in different directions from where you started!
    Some examples: #|-3| = 3# and #|3|=3#
    #|-9| = 9#
    #|5| = 5#
    #|3-11| = |-8| = 8#

    With a number line in front of you, you can point to any location and tell someone how far it is from 0 by just ignoring whether that point is to the left or right of 0. Think of that as "absolute value"!

  • Absolute value is how far a number is away from zero |(insert number)| is the symbol for it. example: |-6| = 6, because -6 is 6 numbers away from zero. The same applies for positives. |6| = 6, because 6 is 6 numbers away from 0.