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Absolute Value

The absolute value of a number is the number's distance from zero on a number line. 

Since we never talk about distance as being negative, the absolute value of a number is always positive. Think of it as the number of jumps it would take to get to zero from a number. 

Number Line-Distance from 0

  • It would take five jumps to get to zero from -5, so the absolute value of -5 is 5. 
  • It would also take five jumps to get to zero from +5, so the absolute value of +5 is also 5.

We use bars (vertical lines) on either side of a number absolute to mean absolute value.

    |-4| = the absolute value of -4 = 4

Pretty simple. If the number is negative, make it positive. If the number is already positive, leave it alone.

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