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Learning Point

Basic math symbols

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Symbol

Symbol Name

Meaning / definition

Example

=

equals sign

equality

5 = 2+3
5 is equal to 2+3

not equal sign

inequality

5 ≠ 4
5 is not equal to 4

approximately equal

approximation

sin(0.01) ≈ 0.01,
xy means x is approximately equal to y

>

strict inequality

greater than

5 > 4
5 is greater than 4

<

strict inequality

less than

4 < 5
4 is less than 5

inequality

greater than or equal to

5 ≥ 4,
xy means x is greater than or equal to y

inequality

less than or equal to

4 ≤ 5,
x ≤ y means x is less than or equal to y

( )

parentheses

calculate expression inside first

2 × (3+5) = 16

[ ]

brackets

calculate expression inside first

[(1+2)×(1+5)] = 18

+

plus sign

addition

1 + 1 = 2

minus sign

subtraction

2 − 1 = 1

±

plus - minus

both plus and minus operations

3 ± 5 = 8 and -2

±

minus - plus

both minus and plus operations

3 5 = -2 and 8

*

asterisk

multiplication

2 * 3 = 6

×

times sign

multiplication

2 × 3 = 6

multiplication dot

multiplication

2 3 = 6

÷

division sign / obelus

division

6 ÷ 2 = 3

/

division slash

division

6 / 2 = 3

horizontal line

division / fraction

\frac{6}{2}=3

mod

modulo

remainder calculation

7 mod 2 = 1

.

period

decimal point, decimal separator

2.56 = 2+56/100

ab

power

exponent

23 = 8

a^b

caret

exponent

2 ^ 3 = 8

a

square root

a a = a

√9 = ±3

3a

cube root

3a 3√a 3√a = a

3√8 = 2

4a

fourth root

4a 4√a 4√a 4√a = a

4√16 = ±2

na

n-th root (radical)

 

for n=3, n√8 = 2

%

percent

1% = 1/100

10% × 30 = 3

per-mille

1‰ = 1/1000 = 0.1%

10‰ × 30 = 0.3

ppm

per-million

1ppm = 1/1000000

10ppm × 30 = 0.0003

ppb

per-billion

1ppb = 1/1000000000

10ppb × 30 = 3×10-7

ppt

per-trillion

1ppt = 10-12

10ppt × 30 = 3×10-10

 

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