# Can instantaneous rate of change be negative?

##### 1 Answer

Most certainly! When the instantaneous rate of change of a function at a given point is negative, it simply means that the function is decreasing at that point. As an example, given a function of the form **m** is positive, the function is increasing, but when **m** is negative, the function is decreasing. For a line, the rate of change at any given point is simply **m**.

This can also be seen in physics. In physics, when your **velocity**, or your rate of change of position, is positive, that means that you are moving in the 'positive' direction (such as towards the right on a number line). When your velocity is negative, it means that you are moving in the 'negative' direction (such as towards the left on the number line). Further, if your **acceleration**, your rate of change of velocity, is positive, it means that your velocity is increasing, and if your acceleration is negative, then your velocity is *decreasing*.