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Inequalities

Inequality tells you about the relative size of two values.

Mathematics is not always about "equals"! Sometimes you only know that something is bigger or smaller

Example: Alex and Billy have a race, and Billy wins!

What do we know? We don't know how fast they ran, but we do know that Billy was faster than Alex:

Billy was faster than Alex

We can write that down like this:

b > a

(Where "b" means how fast Billy was, "a" means how fast Alex was, and ">" means "greater than")

We call things like that "inequalities" (because they are not "equal")

Greater or Less Than

The two most common inequalities are

Symbol
Words
Example Use
>
greater than
5 > 2
<
less than
7 < 9

 

Example: Alex plays in the under 15s soccer. How old is Alex?

We don't know exactly how old Alex is, because it doesn't say "equals"

But we do know "less than 15", so we can write:

Age < 15

... Or Equal To!

You can also have inequalities like:

Symbol
Words
Example Use
greater than or equal to
x ≥ 1
less than or equal to
y ≤ 3


Example: you must be 13 or older to watch a movie.

The "inequality" is between your age and the age of 13.

Your age must be "greater than or equal to 13", which would be written:

Age ≥ 13

 

Comparing Values

These "inequalities" can be used to compare values ... for example try Compare Numbers to 10

There are more like that at Comparing Numbers

Solving inequalities

Now Read about Solving inequalities

Properties of Inequalities

We also have an in-depth page on the Properties of Inequalities