Understanding the Mathematics of Personal Finance

# MINUS (NEGATIVE) SIGNS

The seemingly benign set of rules for manipulating a minus sign nevertheless manages to cause an endless set of headaches. Let’s see if I can summarize these rules quickly and clearly:

1. (Not so much a rule as a reminder) When a sign is not shown, a positive sign is implied:

34 = +34,

(35) = (+35) =+(35).

2. Subtracting B from A is the same as adding - B to A:

7 - 5 = 7 + (-5) = 2.

3. As implied above, multiplying a positive number by a negative number yields a negative number:

(-3)(6) = -(3)(6) = -18,

(-6 ) = -(6 ) = (-1)(6).

4. Multiplying two negative numbers yields a positive number:

(-5)(-7) = +35.

5.

Division rules are the same as multiplication rules. Dividing a positive number by a negative number or dividing a negative number by a positive number yields a negative number. Dividing a negative number by a negative number yields a positive number:

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