Greater/Less Than SignsDate: 04/09/97 at 15:12:41 From: Anonymous Subject: Greater/Less Than Signs I always get my greater and less than signs mixed up. Which is which? Thank you. Date: 04/09/97 at 16:46:20 From: Doctor Ethan Subject: Re: Greater/Less Than Signs Howdy, Sure, I would be happy to help you. The short answer is < is less than because it is used when the sentence would look like ____ is less than _____. > is the greater than symbol because it is used when the sentence would be _____ is greater than _____. There are two tricks needed. First you have to remember what the symbols mean; then you have to apply the right labels. Let me explain what I mean. The two symbols < and > have meaning because they indicate relative size, the standard being that the "open side is toward the larger quantity." 3 < 4 4 > 3 If you can remember that, then all you have to figure out is which label goes with which one. Try to turn it into a sentence. Because the open end is toward the four, the four is larger, so would the sentence read, 3 is greater than 4 or 3 is less than 4 ? The first one is false, so the symbol that has the point to the left and the opening to the right is the less than symbol. I hope this explanation makes sense. -Doctor Ethan, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Date: 04/19/97 at 16:46:20 From: Doctor Chuck Subject: Re: Greater/Less Than Signs Hi! I have a trick that I use to remember which of "<" or ">" means "is less than" or "is greater than". Think of the signs "<" and ">" as being alligator mouths. For example, look at this poorly-drawn alligator: \-O-================ > ========================== / /\ /\ This alligator wants to eat numbers, and since it's really hungry it will always eat the bigger number. So the ">" sign is always open toward the bigger number. For example, consider: 10 which sign? 5 Well, 10 is greater than 5, so the alligator will want to "eat" the 10, and its mouth will be open toward the 10. 10 > 5 I hope this trick is useful... -Doctor Chuck, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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