ACT Math : How to divide negative numbers

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Math

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Example Questions

Example Question #134 : Arithmetic

What is ?

Possible Answers:

45

Correct answer:

Explanation:

A negative number divided by a negative number always results in a positive number.  divided by  equals . Since the answer is positive, the answer cannot be  or any other negative number.

Example Question #7 : Negative Numbers

Solve for :

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Begin by isolating your variable.

Subtract  from both sides:

, or 

Next, subtract  from both sides:

, or 

Then, divide both sides by :

Recall that division of a negative by a negative gives you a positive, therefore:

 or 

Example Question #1 : How To Divide Negative Numbers

Solve the following equation:

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The rule for dividing negative numbers is the same as for multiplying negative numbers.  

If both numbers are negative, you will get a positive answer.  

If either number is positive, and the other is negative, you will get a negative answer.  

Therefore:

Example Question #583 : Problem Solving

Choose the answer which best solves the following equation:

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

To solve, first put the equation in terms of :

First multiply the x to both sides.

Now divide by 12 to solve for x.

Here, because one of the numbers in the equation is positive, and the other is negative, the answer must be a negative number:

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