# How to Represent Inequalities in Equations

Sometimes, you want to talk about when two quantities are different. These statements are called inequalities. Four types of inequalities are (doesn’t equal), < (less than), > (greater than), and (approximately equals).

## Doesn’t equal ()

The simplest inequality is , which you use when two quantities are not equal. For example,

2 + 2 5

3 4 34

999,999 1,000,000

You can read as “doesn’t equal” or “is not equal to.” Therefore, read 2 + 2 5 as “two plus two doesn’t equal five.”

## Less than (<) and greater than (>)

The symbol < means *less than*. For example, the following statements are true:

4 < 5

100 < 1,000

2 + 2 < 5

Similarly, the symbol > means *greater than*. For example,

5 > 4

100 > 99

2 + 2 > 3

The two symbols < and > are similar and easily confused. Here are two simple ways to remember which is which:

Notice that the < looks sort of like an

*L*. This*L*should remind you that it means*less than*.Remember that in any true statement, the

*large*open mouth of the symbol is on the side of the*greater*amount, and the*small*point is on the side of the*lesser*amount.

## Approximately equals ()

Rounding numbers makes large numbers easier to work with. The , which means *approximately equals*, allows you to estimate answers using rounded numbers.

For example,

49 50

1,024 1,000

999,999 1,000,000

You can also use when you estimate the answer to a problem:

1,000,487 + 2,001,932 + 5,000,032

1,000,000 + 2,000,000 + 5,000,000 = 8,000,000