Note that -5 is NOT greater than -3. In fact, -5 is strictly LESS than -3. This is because as explained below -5 occurs to the left of -3 on the number line.
Why is -5 not greater than -3?
In order to understand this, we must understand what it means for a number to be “greater” than another number. When we compare two numbers the number occurring to the right on the number line is greater and the number occurring to the left is smaller. For example, 4 is greater than 1 because it occurs to the right on the number line.
Similarly, since -3 occurs to the right compared to -5 we conclude that -5 is lesser than -3. This means that -3 is greater compared to -5.
Rules to know which number is Greater:
- When comparing two negative number, the number with lesser magnitude(value) is actually greater. For example, -3 has a less magnitude (or value=3) but as explained above -3 is greater than -5.
- When comparing a positive number and a negative number the positive number is always greater.
- The number zero is always less than a positive number. On the other hand zero is always greater than a negative number.