Whole Numbers

In this article we will learn about whole numbers. How are whole numbers different from natural numbers? We will also try and understand various properties of whole numbers.

Natural Numbers

Has your teacher ever told you to count the number of students present in the class? What is the first number you start counting from? 1, isn’t it. This is the reason 1, 2, 3, 4….. are known as counting numbers or natural numbers.

1,2,3,4,5,6 ……………

Counting numbers are also known as natural numbers. Do not get confused between them.

Predecessor and Successor


Having difficulty in remembering the difference between predecessor and successor – refer the figure above. The Child will inherit the property of the Man, so the Child is the successor of Man. Similarly the Man inherited the property of his Father. So the Father is the predecessor of the Man.

So whatever comes next is the successor and whatever was before is predecessor.

Coming back to numbers. For Number 16, find successor and predecessor (Remember the above example)

whole numbers

So do every natural number has a successor or a predecessor?

Let’s find for 1.

whole numbers

We see that 1 has no predecessor as 0 is not a natural number.

Whole Numbers

The set of natural number along with zero form a set of whole numbers.

whole numbers

Number Line

Number line for whole numbers. Refer the figure below to understand number line for whole number. The figure explains addition and subtraction with the help of a number line.

whole numbers

Properties of Whole Numbers

  • Addition and multiplication of 2 whole number will always give a whole number.
  • Subtraction and division of 2 whole number may or may not give a whole number.

Refer the figure below for better understanding.
whole numbers

Discussing Commutativity

Before understanding what commutative means, refer to the figure below and try to understand what the figure is implying.

We will take two whole number 2, 3 and apply various operations like addition, subtraction etc.

whole numbers

From the above figure we understand what commutative means.

Addition and Multiplication of whole numbers are commutative in nature while division and subtraction are not.

Thus here we had a discussion about whole numbers as it is one of the foundations on which the number system is built. Students  who wish to learn more on this topic should do so by attempting exercises like the one given here- NCERT solutions for whole numbers.

Practise This Question

Which of these numbers is not a natural number?