Basic,

Numbers greater than zero are normally shown without a sign. The number written as 5 has the same value as +5.

**Negative numbers** are numbers that are less than zero, and are shown with a minus sign. A **number line**, showing the position of numbers from -10 to +10, is shown below:

The numbers on the left hand end of the scale are the smaller numbers. Working from left to right, numbers increase in value. -5 is larger than -8 because -5 is further to the right on the number line. Similarly, 2 is larger than -4.

1. Which is the larger number, -6 or -2?

Answer: -2

Using the number line, -2 is further to the right.

2. Three cities recorded their average temperatures over winter. In London, it was 3ºC, in Edinburgh it was -2ºC, and in Leeds it was -5ºC. Which city had the lowest average temperature?

Answer: Leeds

Of all the numbers, -5 is the furthest to the left, and therefore has the lowest value.

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