Subtracting Integers

There is only one rule that you have to remember when subtracting integers! Basically, you are going to change the subtraction problem to an addition problem.

RULE: When SUBTRACTING integers remember to ADD the OPPOSITE.


TIP: For subtracting integers only, remember the phrase
"Keep - change - change"


What does that mean? Keep - Change - Change is a phrase that will help you "add the opposite" by changing the subtraction problem to an addition problem.

Keep the first number exactly the same. Change the subtraction sign to an addition sign. Change the sign of the last number to the opposite sign. If the number was positive change it to negative OR if it was negative, change it to positive.


















Example 1

Here's an example for the problem: 12 - (-6) = ?

Keep 12 exactly the same. Change the subtraction sign to an addition sign. Change the -6 to a positive 6. Then add and you have your answer!

-23 - (-11) = __ + ___ = ___

= -23 + 11 = -12

14 - (-8) = __ + ___ = ___

=14 + 8 = 22








Let's Practice Subtracting Integers


Ready to try some on your own? Don't forget to rewrite the problem first and then solve using your addition rules! Click here to check your answers.

1.   6 - (-7) = _______

2.   -12 - 3 = _______

3.   10 - (-8) = _______

4.   -9 - 10 = _______

5.   -4 - (-12) = _______

6.   -5 - 9 = _______

7.   2 - 12 = _______

8.   -13 - (-10) = _______



How did you do? Are you ready for more of a challenge? Let's mix it up a little! Watch the signs!

9.   6 - (-7) + 8 = _______

10.   12 + (-15) - (-3) = _______

11.   -8 - 4 - (-7) = _______

12.   3 - (-7) - 12 = _______






Answers to
Let's Practice Subtracting Integers


1.  6 - (-7) = 13   Can be rewritten as: 6 + 7 = 13


2.  -12 - 3 -15   Can be rewritten as: -12 + (-3)= -15


3.  10 - (-8) = 18   Can be rewritten as: 10 + 8 = 18


4.  -9 - 10 = -19   Can be rewritten as: -9 + (-10) = -19


5.  -4 - (-12) = 8   Can be rewritten as: -4 + 12 = 8


6.  -5 - 9 = -14   Can be rewritten as: -5 + (-9) = -14


7.  2 - 12 = -10   Can be rewritten as: 2 + (-12) = -10


8.  -13 - (-10) = -3   Can be rewritten as: -13 + 10= -3


9.  6 - (-7) + 8 = 21   Can be rewritten as: 6 + 7 + 8 = 21


10.  12 +(-15) - (-3) = 0   Can be rewritten as: 12 + (-15) + 3 = 0


11.  -8 - 4 - (-7) = -5   Can be rewritten as: -8 + (-4) + 7 = -5


12.  3 - (-7) - 12 = -2   Can be rewritten as: 3 + 7 + (-12) = -2




Piece of cake, right? Now, you are ready to move onto Multiplying and Dividing Integers!


Unit 2: A Study of Integers

Click on the lesson that you are ready to study.

Lesson 1: Integers and Absolute Value

Lesson 2: Comparing and Ordering Integers

Lesson 3: Adding Integers

Lesson 4: Subtracting Integers

Lesson 5: Multiplying and Dividing Integers



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