What are positive numbers?

A quick overview of positive numbers and their characteristics

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Author
Tess Loucka

Published
January 22, 2024

What are positive numbers?

A quick overview of positive numbers and their characteristics

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Author
Tess Loucka

Published
Jan 22, 2024

What are positive numbers?

A quick overview of positive numbers and their characteristics

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Author
Tess Loucka

Published
January 22, 2024

Key takeaways

  • Positive numbers are any number greater than 0.
  • Positive numbers can be whole numbers, fractions, or decimals, unlike positive integers which can only be whole numbers.
  • When adding, multiplying, or dividing two positive numbers together, the answer will always be positive. This is not always true for subtraction.

We use numbers in nearly everything we do. Whether we’re counting something up, calculating the time it will take to do something, or even making a daily to-do list, numbers are what keep us on track and on time. 

More often than not, the numbers we’re using are positive numbers. In maths, we use positive numbers constantly! So understanding the characteristics of positive numbers is a very important maths skill.

To put it simply, an integer is a whole number. In school, you work with whole numbers all the time. But what makes integers a little more complicated is that they can also be negative numbers. 

There are many rules and properties to remember when working with integers, but first, what is an integer

Positive numbers definition

The positive numbers definition states that any number greater than 0 is a positive number. 

If you’ve ever worked with positive integers, you may be wondering what the difference between positive integers and positive numbers is. So, what is a positive integer

Positive integers are any whole numbers that are greater than 0.  Meanwhile, positive numbers are any numbers, including fractions and decimals, that are greater than 0. A number does not have to be a whole number to be a positive number.  

When a number has no symbol in front of it, it is assumed that that number is positive. In some cases when a number’s value is unclear, a plus sign (+), is used to indicate that a number is positive. 

So, 8 with no symbol is a positive number. The same number written as +8 is also positive. Similarly, saying “eight” and “positive eight” both indicate that you are talking about a positive number.

Positive numbers on a number line

Positive numbers appear to the right of the zero when placed on a number line. The numbers get larger as you move further right. 

The highlighted side of the number line above is the positive numbers side. They are to the right of the 0 because they have a greater value than 0. Those to the left of the 0 are negative numbers. They have a smaller value than 0. 

To conceptualise the difference between positive and negative numbers, you can think of a lemonade stand. If you are the one selling the lemonade and someone gives you $1 for a cup of lemonade, you have a positive amount of money. 

If you are the one buying the lemonade, you will owe $1 and have a negative amount of money.

When doing addition, multiplication, or division with positive numbers, the result will always be a positive number. This is not always true for subtraction.

To accelerate your learning process of working with positive numbers or number lines, you can use resources such as maths websites or maths apps that provide you with endless practice problems and educational activities attuned to your specific needs and interests. 

Practice problems

Click on the boxes below to see the answers!

Answer: 9

Answer: 30 or +30

Answer: Six or positive six

FAQs about positive numbers

1, 2, 3, 4, 5…are all examples of positive numbers.

The first 10 positive whole numbers are 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10. However, decimals and fractions can also be positive, so the first positive number that is not a whole number could look something like 0.00000001.

The plus sign (+) represents a positive number when placed before a digit.

Group 208

Related Posts

Negative Numbers

About Prime Numbers

Composite Numbers

Lesson credits

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka discovered her passion for writing in school and hasn't stopped writing since! Combined with her love of numbers, she became a maths and English tutor. Since graduating, her goal has been to use her writing to spread knowledge and the joy of learning to readers of all ages.

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka discovered her passion for writing in school and hasn't stopped writing since! Combined with her love of numbers, she became a maths and English tutor. Since graduating, her goal has been to use her writing to spread knowledge and the joy of learning to readers of all ages.

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