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In mathematics, the additive inverse of a
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers c ...
is the number that, when added to , yields
zero 0 (zero) is a number representing an empty quantity. In place-value notation such as the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, 0 also serves as a placeholder numerical digit, which works by multiplying digits to the left of 0 by the radix, usual ...
. This number is also known as the opposite (number), sign change, and negation. For a
real number In mathematics, a real number is a number that can be used to measure a ''continuous'' one-dimensional quantity such as a distance, duration or temperature. Here, ''continuous'' means that values can have arbitrarily small variations. Every ...
, it reverses its sign: the additive inverse (opposite number) of a
positive number In mathematics, the sign of a real number is its property of being either positive, negative, or zero. Depending on local conventions, zero may be considered as being neither positive nor negative (having no sign or a unique third sign), or it ...
is negative, and the additive inverse of a
negative number In mathematics, a negative number represents an opposite. In the real number system, a negative number is a number that is less than zero. Negative numbers are often used to represent the magnitude of a loss or deficiency. A debt that is owed m ...
is positive.
Zero 0 (zero) is a number representing an empty quantity. In place-value notation such as the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, 0 also serves as a placeholder numerical digit, which works by multiplying digits to the left of 0 by the radix, usual ...
is the additive inverse of itself. The additive inverse of is denoted by unary minus: (see also below). For example, the additive inverse of 7 is −7, because , and the additive inverse of −0.3 is 0.3, because . Similarly, the additive inverse of is which can be simplified to . The additive inverse of is , because . The additive inverse is defined as its inverse element under the
binary operation In mathematics, a binary operation or dyadic operation is a rule for combining two elements (called operands) to produce another element. More formally, a binary operation is an operation of arity two. More specifically, an internal binary o ...
generalization A generalization is a form of abstraction whereby common properties of specific instances are formulated as general concepts or claims. Generalizations posit the existence of a domain or set of elements, as well as one or more common characteri ...
to mathematical objects other than numbers. As for any inverse operation,
double A double is a look-alike or doppelgänger; one person or being that resembles another. Double, The Double or Dubble may also refer to: Film and television * Double (filmmaking), someone who substitutes for the credited actor of a character * ' ...
additive inverse has no net effect: .

# Common examples

For a number (and more generally in any ring), the additive inverse can be calculated using
multiplication Multiplication (often denoted by the cross symbol , by the mid-line dot operator , by juxtaposition, or, on computers, by an asterisk ) is one of the four elementary mathematical operations of arithmetic, with the other ones being addi ...
by
−1 In mathematics, −1 (also known as negative one or minus one) is the additive inverse of 1, that is, the number that when added to 1 gives the additive identity element, 0. It is the negative integer greater than negative two (−2) and less ...
; that is, . Examples of rings of numbers are
integer An integer is the number zero (), a positive natural number (, , , etc.) or a negative integer with a minus sign (−1, −2, −3, etc.). The negative numbers are the additive inverses of the corresponding positive numbers. In the language o ...
s,
rational number In mathematics, a rational number is a number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction of two integers, a numerator and a non-zero denominator . For example, is a rational number, as is every integer (e.g. ). The set of all rati ...
s,
real number In mathematics, a real number is a number that can be used to measure a ''continuous'' one-dimensional quantity such as a distance, duration or temperature. Here, ''continuous'' means that values can have arbitrarily small variations. Every ...
s, and
complex number In mathematics, a complex number is an element of a number system that extends the real numbers with a specific element denoted , called the imaginary unit and satisfying the equation i^= -1; every complex number can be expressed in the form ...
s.

## Relation to subtraction

Additive inverse is closely related to
subtraction Subtraction is an arithmetic operation that represents the operation of removing objects from a collection. Subtraction is signified by the minus sign, . For example, in the adjacent picture, there are peaches—meaning 5 peaches with 2 take ...
, which can be viewed as an addition of the opposite: :. Conversely, additive inverse can be thought of as subtraction from zero: :. Hence, unary minus sign notation can be seen as a shorthand for subtraction (with the "0" symbol omitted), although in a correct
typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing ( leading), a ...
, there should be no
space Space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction. In classical physics, physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consi ...
after unary "−".

## Other properties

In addition to the identities listed above, negation has the following algebraic properties: * , it is an Involution operation * * * * * ** notably,

# Formal definition

The notation + is usually reserved for
commutative In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result. It is a fundamental property of many binary operations, and many mathematical proofs depend on it. Most familiar as the name of ...
binary operations (operations where for all , ). If such an operation admits an
identity element In mathematics, an identity element, or neutral element, of a binary operation operating on a set is an element of the set that leaves unchanged every element of the set when the operation is applied. This concept is used in algebraic structures su ...
(such that for all ), then this element is unique (). For a given , if there exists such that , then is called an additive inverse of . If + is
associative In mathematics, the associative property is a property of some binary operations, which means that rearranging the parentheses in an expression will not change the result. In propositional logic, associativity is a valid rule of replacement ...
, i.e., for all , , , then an additive inverse is unique. To see this, let and each be additive inverses of ; then :. For example, since addition of real numbers is associative, each real number has a unique additive inverse.

# Other examples

All the following examples are in fact
abelian group In mathematics, an abelian group, also called a commutative group, is a group in which the result of applying the group operation to two group elements does not depend on the order in which they are written. That is, the group operation is comm ...
s: *
Complex number In mathematics, a complex number is an element of a number system that extends the real numbers with a specific element denoted , called the imaginary unit and satisfying the equation i^= -1; every complex number can be expressed in the form ...
s: . On the
complex plane In mathematics, the complex plane is the plane formed by the complex numbers, with a Cartesian coordinate system such that the -axis, called the real axis, is formed by the real numbers, and the -axis, called the imaginary axis, is formed by the ...
, this operation rotates a complex number 180 degrees around the
origin Origin(s) or The Origin may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Comics and manga * ''Origin'' (comics), a Wolverine comic book mini-series published by Marvel Comics in 2002 * ''The Origin'' (Buffy comic), a 1999 ''Buffy the Vampire Sl ...
(see the image above). * Addition of real- and complex-valued functions: here, the additive inverse of a function is the function defined by , for all , such that , the zero function ( for all ). * More generally, what precedes applies to all functions with values in an abelian group ('zero' meaning then the identity element of this group): *
Sequence In mathematics, a sequence is an enumerated collection of objects in which repetitions are allowed and order matters. Like a set, it contains members (also called ''elements'', or ''terms''). The number of elements (possibly infinite) is call ...
s, matrices and nets are also special kinds of functions. * In a
vector space In mathematics and physics, a vector space (also called a linear space) is a set whose elements, often called '' vectors'', may be added together and multiplied ("scaled") by numbers called '' scalars''. Scalars are often real numbers, but ...
, the additive inverse is often called the opposite vector of ; it has the same magnitude as the original and opposite direction. Additive inversion corresponds to scalar multiplication by −1. For
Euclidean space Euclidean space is the fundamental space of geometry, intended to represent physical space. Originally, that is, in Euclid's ''Elements'', it was the three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, but in modern mathematics there are Euclidean ...
, it is
point reflection In geometry, a point reflection (point inversion, central inversion, or inversion through a point) is a type of isometry of Euclidean space. An object that is invariant under a point reflection is said to possess point symmetry; if it is invari ...
in the origin. Vectors in exactly opposite directions (multiplied to negative numbers) are sometimes referred to as antiparallel. **
vector space In mathematics and physics, a vector space (also called a linear space) is a set whose elements, often called '' vectors'', may be added together and multiplied ("scaled") by numbers called '' scalars''. Scalars are often real numbers, but ...
-valued functions (not necessarily linear), * In
modular arithmetic In mathematics, modular arithmetic is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers "wrap around" when reaching a certain value, called the modulus. The modern approach to modular arithmetic was developed by Carl Friedrich Gauss in his boo ...
, the modular additive inverse of is also defined: it is the number such that . This additive inverse always exists. For example, the inverse of 3 modulo 11 is 8 because it is the solution to .

# Non-examples

Natural number In mathematics, the natural numbers are those numbers used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' coins on the table") and ordering (as in "this is the ''third'' largest city in the country"). Numbers used for counting are called ''cardinal n ...
s,
cardinal number In mathematics, cardinal numbers, or cardinals for short, are a generalization of the natural numbers used to measure the cardinality (size) of sets. The cardinality of a finite set is a natural number: the number of elements in the set. The ...
s and
ordinal number In set theory, an ordinal number, or ordinal, is a generalization of ordinal numerals (first, second, th, etc.) aimed to extend enumeration to infinite sets. A finite set can be enumerated by successively labeling each element with the least n ...
s do not have additive inverses within their respective sets. Thus one can say, for example, that natural numbers ''do'' have additive inverses, but because these additive inverses are not themselves natural numbers, the set of natural numbers is not ''closed'' under taking additive inverses.

*
−1 In mathematics, −1 (also known as negative one or minus one) is the additive inverse of 1, that is, the number that when added to 1 gives the additive identity element, 0. It is the negative integer greater than negative two (−2) and less ...
*
Absolute value In mathematics, the absolute value or modulus of a real number x, is the non-negative value without regard to its sign. Namely, , x, =x if is a positive number, and , x, =-x if x is negative (in which case negating x makes -x positive), an ...
(related through the identity ). *
Additive identity In mathematics, the additive identity of a set that is equipped with the operation of addition is an element which, when added to any element ''x'' in the set, yields ''x''. One of the most familiar additive identities is the number 0 from eleme ...
*
Inverse function In mathematics, the inverse function of a function (also called the inverse of ) is a function that undoes the operation of . The inverse of exists if and only if is bijective, and if it exists, is denoted by f^ . For a function f\colon X ...
*
Involution (mathematics) In mathematics, an involution, involutory function, or self-inverse function is a function that is its own inverse, : for all in the domain of . Equivalently, applying twice produces the original value. General properties Any involution ...
*
Multiplicative inverse In mathematics, a multiplicative inverse or reciprocal for a number ''x'', denoted by 1/''x'' or ''x''−1, is a number which when multiplied by ''x'' yields the multiplicative identity, 1. The multiplicative inverse of a fraction ''a''/''b ...
*
Reflection symmetry In mathematics, reflection symmetry, line symmetry, mirror symmetry, or mirror-image symmetry is symmetry with respect to a reflection. That is, a figure which does not change upon undergoing a reflection has reflectional symmetry. In 2D the ...
*
Semigroup In mathematics, a semigroup is an algebraic structure consisting of a set together with an associative internal binary operation on it. The binary operation of a semigroup is most often denoted multiplicatively: ''x''·''y'', or simply ''xy'', ...
*
Monoid In abstract algebra, a branch of mathematics, a monoid is a set equipped with an associative binary operation and an identity element. For example, the nonnegative integers with addition form a monoid, the identity element being 0. Monoids ar ...
*
Group (mathematics) In mathematics, a group is a set and an operation that combines any two elements of the set to produce a third element of the set, in such a way that the operation is associative, an identity element exists and every element has an inverse. Th ...

# Notes and references

{{reflist Abstract algebra Arithmetic Elementary algebra