Addition and Subtraction


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Addition and subtraction are two of the basic operations in mathematics. Understanding the difference between them is crucial for solving many everyday problems. Let’s break down each concept with examples:


  1. Definition: Addition is the process of combining two or more numbers to find their total.
  2. Symbol: The plus sign (+) is used for addition.
  3. Key Concept: When you add, the value increases or becomes more.

Examples of Addition

  • Example 1: If you have 3 apples and you get 2 more, how many apples do you have in total?
    • 3 apples + 2 apples = 5 apples.
    • Explanation: You start with 3, add 2 more, and end up with 5.
  • Example 2: Adding Money
    • If you have $20 and you earn $15 more, how much money do you have now?
    • $20 + $15 = $35.
    • Explanation: You combine the two amounts to find the total money you have.


  1. Definition: Subtraction is the process of taking one number away from another to find the difference.
  2. Symbol: The minus sign (−) is used for subtraction.
  3. Key Concept: When you subtract, the value decreases or becomes less.

Examples of Subtraction

  • Example 1: If you have 10 cookies and you eat 4, how many cookies are left?
    • 10 cookies – 4 cookies = 6 cookies.
    • Explanation: You start with 10, take away 4, and you’re left with 6.
  • Example 2: Spending Money
    • If you have $50 and you spend $20, how much money do you have left?
    • $50 – $20 = $30.
    • Explanation: You subtract the amount spent from your original amount to find what remains.

Key Differences

  • Operation: Addition combines quantities; subtraction removes one quantity from another.
  • Result: Addition increases the total; subtraction decreases it.
  • Real-Life Application:
    • Cooking: When you add ingredients (like 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of sugar), you’re combining them to get a total (3 cups of total ingredients). When you use part of a package (like using 3 of the 10 eggs you have), you subtract to find out how many are left (10 eggs – 3 eggs = 7 eggs left).
    • Budgeting: When you deposit money into a bank account, you’re adding to your balance. When you withdraw money, you’re subtracting from your balance.

Visualizing with a Number Line

  • Addition: Moving right on the number line (increasing value).
  • Subtraction: Moving left on the number line (decreasing value).

By understanding and applying these principles, you can effectively use addition and subtraction in various real-life scenarios, from managing finances to cooking and beyond.


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