** Integers** is just a fancy name for *whole numbers* (0, 1, 2, 3 …) and their opposites (-1, -2, -3 …).

On the number line, negative numbers are found to the left of zero (0). The farther left you go, the smaller the number is. As you can see, -8 is smaller than -6, and -2 is smaller than +2.

**Why Should I Care?**

Integers are so basic and important that you've known them since the time you learned to count your fingers and toes.

Even negative numbers are second nature to us. If you spend more money than you make, you have a negative income. Think of this as a negative balance in your bank account. Another way of saying this is that you are "in debt," or "in the hole."

Weather forecasts usually use integers. If you like warm weather, which would make you happiest: a forecast of -10° Fahrenheit, 45° Fahrenheit, or 85° Fahrenheit?

Golf is another perfect example of integers. In golf, the lower your score the better. Each hole in golf is assigned a number of strokes it should take a golfer to finish the hole, called "par." If par for a particular hole is 3 strokes, and you finish in 5 strokes, you scored two above par (+2). However, if you finished the hole in only 2 strokes, you scored one under par (-1). The lower your score, the better the golfer you are.

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