Small Streams

Not Times Not
December 5, 2007, 9:06 am
Filed under: education, language, math | Tags: ,

I was talking with somebody about the number line last night and the following concept. A negative factor times a negative factor creates a positive product. Liz pointed out a good way to think about this conceptually. We all know that in language a double negative makes a positive. Think about negation as part of the verb. In the sentence, “I’m not going to the party,” “not going” is the action. Now, negate the “not going” and you have a positive. “I’m not not going to the party.” Let’s party! To make the concept somewhat more concrete, take the example of saving. If you went to the theater every week, you pay ten dollars per week (with popcorn), that means you are out ten dollars. But if you don’t go for three weeks, you save thirty dollars; you won’t not have thirty dollars.   I hope that’s not too unclear. 

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