1.9 Negative numbers
Numbers can be positive or negative, i.e. greater than or less than zero. Negative numbers have several uses; for example, to measure temperatures below zero, such as −3°C (‘minus 3 degrees Celsius’). They are also used to represent debts and overdrawn accounts: a bank balance of −£84.33 means ‘overdrawn by £84.33’.
Negative numbers are shown on the number line to the left of 0. The animation below shows −8, −7, −6, etc.
The numbers always increase as you move to the right along the number line, wherever you start from. 1 is to the right of −2, so 1 is greater than −2. 1° is warmer than −2° and a bank balance of £1 is more than one of −£2 (two pounds overdrawn).