Chapter 1—Whole Numbers

1-8 Comparing Whole-Number Values

When you complete the work for this section, you should be able to:
  • Demonstrate how to use the whole-number line to compare values.
  • Use the three comparison symbols to show the relative values of two whole numbers.

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In any number system, some numbers are larger than others, some numbers are smaller than others, and some are equal. It is frequently important to understand exactly how to compare two number values to determine whether one number is greater than, less than, or equal to another. The number line provides the key for  comparing the values of two numbers: numbers to the right of another are larger, and numbers to the left are smaller. For example, this number line shows that 4 is greater than 2. How so? Because 4 is to the right of 2. You can also see that 0 is less than 4.



Two numbers are said to be equal (=) when they are at the same point on the number line.

Example:   5 = 5
5 equals 5

One number is said to be greater than (>) another when the it farther to the right on the number line.

Example:   5 > 2
5 is greater than 2

One number is said to be less than (<) another when it is farther to the left on the number line.

Example:   1 < 3
1 is less than 3


Examples and Exercises

Comparing Values

Use these interactive examples and exercises to strengthen your understanding and build your skills:

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015