Negative and Positive Rules

Two Signs Together?

“-” and “+”signs show two things:

  1. whether an integer is positive or negative
  2. whether the operation is add or subtract

When we do operations (like adding and subtracting) with integers we often end up with two signs next to each other. This can be confusing but the rules below can help:

+3 means positive three. 3 is the same as +3
We usually don’t say “positive” or write the + sign so you will not see two plus signs together very often.

Rules For Adding and Subtracting Positive and Negative Integers

negative and a positive
minus and a plus
Positively a negative+ – = –
– + = –
negative and a negative
minus and a minus
Not negative – so it’s positive– – = +
positive and a positive
plus and a plus
Positively positive+ + = +

Examples of Combining Negative and Positive Signs

This is …… the same as this… and it equals
-2 + (-3)-2 – 3-5
6 – (+4)6 – 42
-7 – (-5)-7 + 5-2
8 + (+9)8 + 917

Integer Rules Practice Quiz

Try the short quiz below for some practice applying Integer Rules.

Adding and Subtracting Integers Worksheets

Use these two worksheets to practice applying the rules to the addition and subtraction of integers: