Definition of Mixed Number
Date: 11/22/2004 at 17:20:43 From: Brian Subject: Is 5 a mixed number? If so, why? Is 5 a mixed number? Why or why not? I think it is, because you can write 5 0/3, can't you?
Date: 11/22/2004 at 18:02:37 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Is 5 a mixed number? If so, why? Hi, Brian. I think it's important, when considering this question, to keep in mind the difference between a number and a numeral. A number is more of an idea, while a numeral is a name for a number--a way of telling others what number you're thinking of. For instance, 1.5, 3/2, and 1 1/2 are three different numerals that all represent the same number. A mixed number would be better called a mixed numeral, because it is a way of writing a number. When you ask if the number 5 is a mixed number, you're really asking about this particular way of writing it: is the *numeral* 5 a mixed number? You *can* represent the number 5 by a mixed number 5 0/3, though I wouldn't do so except while working a problem with mixed numbers (even then I'll probably only "write" it this way in my head), or because I was asked to do it. But the numeral 5 is not a mixed number because it doesn't have a fraction part. If a mixed number meant a number that *could* be written with a whole number and a fraction, then *every* number would be a mixed number. For instance, 0.5 would be a mixed number because it can be written 0 1/2. There would be no reason to call anything "mixed number", because it wouldn't tell you anything about the number! That's my opinion. I haven't checked to see whether everyone agrees with me. If you find out that someone disagrees, I'd like to see their reasons. - Doctor Rick, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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