What is a Positive Integer? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What is a Positive Integer?
  • 1:02 What Do Positive…
  • 1:46 Purpose of Positive Integers
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

We use positive integers in our everyday lives. We see them everywhere in the world around us. Learn what positive integers are and what you can do with them.

What Is A Positive Integer?

When I think of positive integers, I think of counting. All the numbers we use for counting are positive integers. Positive integers are actually part of a larger group of numbers called integers. Integers are all the whole numbers, both positive and negative. By whole numbers we mean numbers without fractions or decimals. You can also call positive integers your 'counting numbers' because they are the same. You don't count with fractions or decimals or negative numbers.

On a number line, positive integers are all the numbers to the right of the zero.

One point that I find interesting is whether the zero is included or not. Some people will tell you that zero is included, and others will tell you that it's not. Zero is an interesting number because it is neither positive nor negative. Because of zero's unique properties, I will tell you to not include the zero in the group called positive integers.

What Do Positive Integers Look Like?

Positive integers are numbers you see all around you in the world. The speed limit signs posted all over our roadways are all positive integers. When you set the table for dinner, the number of plates needed is a positive integer. The same goes with the number of chairs required for family and guests. In math, positive integers are the numbers you see that aren't fractions or decimals. They are the easy numbers.

1 346 8 78 7 485 34 98 7 225 2 6 11

All the numbers above are positive integers. Note how none of them have the negative symbol in front, nor do they have fractions or decimals. These are the numbers that are easy to work with because you don't have to worry about the rules of fractions or decimals.

Purpose of Positive Integers

So what do we use positive integers for?

Besides counting, positive integers are used in basic calculations. For example, when a store is checking its inventory, or how many items it has, the manager needs to use positive integers and basic math to figure out totals. Let's say he has 10 candy bars in one checkout aisle and 30 candy bars in another aisle. He would have to use basic math and add the numbers to get a total.

10 + 30 = 40

Doing a basic calculation such as addition helps the manager keep track of total inventory and will let him know when he needs to purchase more of an item.

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