How to Add & Subtract Inside an Absolute Value Sign


Absolute value is a function placed on a series of mathematical operations to derive the magnitude of the resulting value. The absolute value of a number is by definition that number's distance from zero on a number line. As such, there are no negative absolute values. Absolute values are first encountered in intermediate algebra classes as a means for understanding the real number system. This function is later revisited in calculus and statistics.

  • Simplify all terms within the absolute value sign as normal. For example, |3 - 5 + 10|= |8|

  • Remove the absolute value symbols and remove any negative sign within them. For example, |5 - 8| = |-3| = 3.

  • Apply any sign that was attached to the absolute value symbol to the resulting integer. For example, -|5 - 2| = -|3|= - (3) = -3.

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