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# Lesson 19:  Greater and Less Than

This is another easy, yet important topic that comes up frequently.

Don't forget to watch the embedded video clip for this lesson at the bottom of the page.  Please be sure to read the embedded video information and disclaimer.

Many test questions in math ask you to determine which of two numbers is greater.  We use the "<" and ">" symbols to represent this.

We know that 5 is greater than 3, and we can represent this with 5 > 3.  It is read as "five is greater than 3."  We know that 4 is less than 7, so we could write 4 < 7.

One way to remember the symbols is to think of them as an alligator's mouth.  The mouth opens in the direction of the bigger number.

Sometimes a test question will be designed to try to see if you understand place value.  For example, you might be asked to insert the proper symbol into this expression:
738 ___ 783.  The correct answer would be "<".  Remember, we have to look at the place values in each number.  Both have 7 in the 100s place, but the left number has three 10s, while the right number has eight 10s.  That means that the left number is smaller.

Make sure that you are comfortable with the use of the "<" and ">" symbols to indicate which of two numbers is the greater or the lesser.

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