Basic Maths Symbols
This page lists basic maths symbols with their names and examples in English.
plus sign / addition sign
The plus sign represents:
a. the notion of positive
Any number bigger than zero is a positive number and can be written with or without a plus sign in front of it.
Thus, +5 (plus five) and 5 (five) are the same number.
b. the operation of addition
3 + 5 = 8
three plus five equals eight
five added to three makes eight
three added to five makes eight
if you add five to three you get eight
Addition gives us a sum. In 3 + 5 = 8, the sum is eight.
minus sign / subtraction sign
The minus sign represents:
a. the notion of negative
Any number smaller than zero is a negative number and is written with a minus sign in front of it.
b. the operation of subtraction
8 - 5 = 3
eight minus five equals three
five subtracted from eight equals three
if you subtract five from eight you get three
if you take five from eight you get three
Subtraction gives us a difference. In 8 - 5 = 3, the difference is three.
times sign / multiplication sign
The times sign represents:
5 x 6 = 30
five times six equals thirty
five multiplied by six equals thirty
five sixes are thirty
if you multiply 5 by 6 you get thirty
Multiplication gives us a product. In 5 x 6 = 30, the product is thirty.
÷ OR /
The division sign represents:
15 ÷ 3 = 5
15 / 3 = 5
fifteen divided by three equals five
five goes into fifteen three times
if you divide fifteen by three you get five
if you divide three into fifteen you get five
Division gives us a quotient. In 15 ÷ 3 = 5, the quotient is five.
|addition||"plus"||2 + 2 = 4||sum|
|subtraction||"minus"||5 - 3 = 2||difference|
|multiplication||"times"||3 x 5 = 15||product|
|division||"divided by"||21 / 7 = 3||quotient|
The equals sign represents equality:
3 + 4 = 7
three plus four equals seven
Note that we usually say equals NOT equal:
- two plus two equals four
two plus two equal four
3 < 4
three is less than four
4 > 3
four is greater than three
NOT equal to
x ≠ z
x is not equal to z
greater than or equal to
x ≥ z
x is greater than or equal to z
less than or equal to
z ≤ x
z is less than or equal to x
decimal separator | point
The decimal separator separates a whole number from its fractional part to the right:
In English, the decimal separator is usually a point (.). Note that in some languages the decimal separator is a comma (,).
In English, the thousands separator separates whole numbers into groups of three from the right.
In English, the thousands separator is usually a comma (,). Note that in some languages the thousands separator is a point (.) or sometimes a space ( ).
The percent sign indicates a number or ratio as a fraction of 100 (percentage).
Only forty percent of the people voted for her.
What percentage voted for her? Forty percent.
√16 = 4
the square root of sixteen equals four
the square root of sixteen is four