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Negative Numbers: Connection to Daily Life
Many feel that math is a difficult subject. One must ask the use of studying maths and the reallife applications of maths. Math is everywhere and so is the significance of numbers and their connection to daily life. Math is all about numbers and the numbers can be grouped into different types of numbers such as whole numbers, integers, real numbers, complex numbers, rational, irrational numbers, and many more types.
All the negative numbers have a value less than zero. Negative numbers are used with a minus or a dash () sign along with the number. On a number line, negative numbers are numbers represented to the left of origin (zero) and their values are less than zero.
Applications of Negative Numbers in Real Life
It might be strange to note that a number is less than 0. Since we often think of zero as meaning nothing. For instance, if you have 0 pieces of pens left in your box, you have no pens. There's nothing left. It's difficult to imagine having less than nothing in this case. But, there are situations in real life where you use numbers that are less than zero. Some of their reallife applications are given below.
1. Temperature
Temperature is a physical quantity expressing the hotness and coldness. A positive temperature is used for warm/hot weather while a negative temperature represents cold weather on a Celsius scale. Temperature is measured with a thermometer and there are various temperature scales and units of measurement. The most commonly used temperature scales are the Celsius scale \(\left({ }^{\circ} \mathrm{C}\right)\), the Fahrenheit scale \(\left({ }^{\circ} \mathrm{F}\right)\), and the Kelvin scale. The lowest temperature possible is absolute zero \(273.15^{\circ} \mathrm{C}\) on the Celsius scale, and \(459.67^{\circ} \mathrm{F}\) on the Fahrenheit scale.
2. Money
Negative numbers are used often to represent credit in the banking system. A negative bank balance indicates that the money has been overdrawn. So, every time someone owes any money it is indicated by a negative quantity of money.
3. Elevator/Lift
A lift or elevator is vertical transportation that moves people or goods between floors of a building. Generally in buildings, the ground floor is considered 0, so going to other floors below the ground floor such as the basement or parking is marked with negative numbers/integers (e.g., 1,2,3.)
4. Sealevel
Sea level (or mean sea level; MSL) is an average level of Earth's oceans. This surface water level acts as a reference point for measuring elevations above or below it. The elevation or depression of a geographic location is its height above or below sea level. The geographic locations below the sea level are represented using negative numbers (e.g., 100 ft MSL)
5. Quizzes/Games
Various types of games or sports make use of negative numbers when counting the scores/points or for giving a penalty. Answering wrong in a quiz or losing a game could make you lose points (such points are considered negative numbers). Moreover, in some sports such as golf negative numbers are used when calculating scores.
Important Notes
 Negative numbers are integers that carry a minus sign and they usually denote low value, absence, or decrease in some quality or quantity.
 Negative numbers are the opposite of positive numbers (+) and are marked on the left side of a number line.
Example: 1) Overnight, the temperature dropped from 5 ºC to 14 ºC. By how many degrees did the temperature fall?
Temperature drop = 5 ºC to 15 ºC
5 15 = 10 ⇒ 10 ºC
The temperature fell by 10 ºC
Example: 2) Find the predecessor of the following integers:
A) 4
B) 16
A) Predecessor of 4 is 4 1 = 5
B) Predecessor of 16 is 16 1 = 15
Related Topics
Solved Examples

Example 1: The weather report suggested that a city’s temperature increased from – 10 degrees celsius to 20 degrees celsius. What is the rise in temperature?
Solution: The difference between the given temperature represents the rise in temperature and can be calculated as 20  (10) = 30
The rise in temperature is 30 degrees celsius.

Example 2: Nathan ended round one of a quiz with 200 points. In round two, he scored 300 points and in the third round, he gained 200 points. What was his total score at the end of the third round?
Solution: Nathan's score in round one: 200 points
Nathan's score after second round: 200 + (300) = 100 points
His score after third round: 100 + 200 = 100 points
Thus, Nathan scored 100 points at the end of the third round.

Example 3: Find the predecessor of the following integers:
A) 9
B) 0
C) 87
D) 23Solution: Predecessor means a number that comes before the given number. So, if you want to find the predecessor of given number then subtract 1 from the given number.
A) Predecessor of 9 is 9 1 = 10
B) Predecessor of 0 is 0 1 = 1
C) Predecessor of 87 is 871 = 88
D) Predecessor of 23 is 231 = 24
FAQs on Negative Numbers: Connection to Daily Life
How are Negative Numbers Used in Everyday Life?
Negative numbers are commonly used in describing below freezing point temperature, credit/due money, elevation above/below sea level, elevator level when it is below the ground level, as a penalty in quizzes/games, etc.
Why do we Use Negative Numbers?
We use negative numbers to describe a lack of quantity or a decrease/reduction in quantities. Negative numbers are commonly used in describing below freezing point temperature, credit of money, elevation below sea level, elevator level when it is below the ground level, negative scoring in exams, as a penalty in quizzes/games, etc.
How are Positive and Negative Numbers used in Real Life?
Negative and positive numbers are used in real life to describe the distance from a reference point. For example, for an elevator, the ground level is considered as 0 and as a reference point, the floors above the ground level are indicated by positive numbers. The floors below the ground level are denoted by negative numbers.
How are Integers Used in Everyday Life?
Integers are commonly used in describing temperature above/below freezing point, debit/credit of money, a geographical level above/below sea level, elevator level when it is above/below the ground level, as a bonus and penalty in quizzes/games, etc.
Is 0 a Real Number?
Yes, 0 zero is a real number. Real numbers could be positive or negative and include the number 0.
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