Absolute value

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The absolute value of a number is a measure of the size of that number. The absolute value of is written .

If is a positive number, then .
If is a negative number, then .
If then .

Absolute value has several useful properties. One is the multiplicative property. If and are two numbers, then . Another is the triangle inequality, which is the fact that . For example, if and , then , while . In this case, the triangle inequality is the fact that 2 is not more than 8.

Complex numbers also have an absolute value. If is a complex number with real part and imaginary part , then . If we represent as a point in the complex plane with coordinates , then is the distance from this point to the origin. The absolute value of complex numbers also has the multiplicative property and satisfies the triangle inequality.