Integers - Absolute Value

Integers - Absolute Value
Let’s meet another relative of the integer family, Absolute Value.
It’s important to understand absolute value before learning how to add and subtract integers. Absolute value refers to the distance a number is from 0 on the number line.


Notice if we were to hop backwards on the number line starting from -5, -5 is five hops from zero. “5” is also 5 hops from zero. Also, it does not make sense to say the “-5” is -5 units away from zero. Again, remember absolute value refer to the distance from zero.

Absolute value is denoted by two vertical bars. “| |” So, |-5| = 5 and |5| = 5.

Try these:

|-43| =

|-1023| =

|23| =

| -4/ 5| =

That’s it! Basically, you just strip the number of its sign.

However, here is a more fun way to think of absolute value.

1st Scenario:

Think of the absolute value symbol as arms of a referee. There is a dispute in progress in another room. “Absolute”, the referee, enters the room, raises her arms, and settles the dispute.

Generally, the argument is about the same issue over and over. Her cousins Positive and Negative are always arguing about which sign their addition or subtraction problem answers will possess. So, good old Absolute Value comes in and saves the day.


2nd Scenario:
A Positive number and Negative number were caught fighting and they were put behind bars “| |”. As a result, Absolute Value stripped them of all accessories including signs. They were left with nothing but themselves.

Answers are below.


|-43| = 43

|-1023| = 1023

|23| = 23

| -4/ 5| = 4/5

Note: The absolute value of a number is never negative.

You Should Also Read:
Mastering Essentials Math Skills - Review
Integers - Positive and Negative Numbers
How to Work Word Problems - Review

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