How to Divide Decimals With a Negative Number


In math, numbers can be positive or negative. Negative numbers are less than zero and are denoted by a "-" sign in front of the number, such as -10. When adding a positive number to a negative number, the "-" merely acts as a minus sign. When multiplying or dividing a negative number to a positive number, the negative sign stays with the answer. Conversely, multiplying or dividing two negative numbers creates a positive number.

  • Divide 25.5 by -1.5. Set up the division by moving the decimal point one spot to the right, creating -15 divided into 255. Write a negative sign off to the side and circle it boldly to remind yourself that it will be needed later; this will save you from having to carry the negative sign through all of your arithmetic.

  • Decide how many times 15 goes into the leading two digits of 255. Write down "1" in your answer box. Subtract 15 from 25: 25 - 15 = 10. Check whether 15 can go into this answer: it can't. Drop down the trailing "5" from the 255 to change the 10 into 105.

  • Decide how many times 15 goes into 105, taking a guess if you're unsure. Try multiplying 15 by 9: 15 * 9 = 135. Try a lower number since that was too high. Use 7 instead: 15 x 7 = 105. Write "7" in the second spot in the answer box.

  • Write a negative sign in front of the "17" in the answer box, making it read "-17", and you have your answer.


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