What are Whole Numbers in Math? (Definition, Examples) - BYJUS

Whole Numbers

A set of numbers that includes natural numbers and 0 is called whole numbers. Whole numbers are positive numbers without any fractions or decimals and that can be easily counted....Read MoreRead Less

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What is a Whole Number?

Whole numbers are an important part of the number system which are integers ranging from 0 to an infinite number of positive integers. A set of whole numbers in mathematics can be represented as,


W = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4 …}


Are natural numbers a subset of whole numbers?


A set A is a subset of set B when all the elements of set A are also elements of set B. 


Every whole number other than 0 is a natural number. So, every natural number is a whole number. Hence, in simpler terms, natural numbers are a subset of whole numbers.





What are the properties of whole numbers?

The properties of whole numbers are dependent on arithmetic operations. Here are the following properties of whole numbers:


Closure Property


This property is ideal for addition and multiplication. If two whole numbers are added or multiplied together, then the result will be a whole number.


Commutative Property of Addition and Multiplication


In this property, the sum and product of any two whole numbers will always be the same in whatever order they are added or multiplied. For example, 4 + 7 = 7 + 4 = 11 and 5 * 8 = 8 * 5 = 40


Associative Property


If whole numbers are added or multiplied, the order of grouping does not change the sum or the product. For example,

2 + (6 + 4) = (2 + 6) + 4 = 12 and 3 * (5 * 6) = (3 * 5) * 6 = 90


Distributive Property


If there are three whole numbers, a, b and c, then the distributive property of multiplication over addition will be,

a * (b + c) = (a * b) + (a * c), this value will also be a whole number.


Along with these properties, there are additive and multiplicative identities:


According to additive identity, if a whole number is added to 0, the number remains the same.


For example, 8 + 0 = 8


In terms of the multiplicative identity, if a whole number is multiplied by 1, the number remains the same.

For example, 3 x 1 = 3.

Solved Whole Numbers Examples

1.   Can you identify the whole numbers from the following numbers: 34, -359, \(\frac{5}{8}\),  8999, 21.5, 0.5, \(\frac{45}{78}\), 200.


Answer: As we have learned, a set of whole numbers is denoted by the symbol W as W = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4,……} and whole numbers don’t include fractions, decimals and negative numbers.


Thus from the above list of numbers, whole numbers are: 34, 8999, 200.

2.  Solve 20 x (10 + 7) using the distributive property.


Answer: The distributive property of multiplication over addition for whole numbers is given by, a * (b + c) = (a * b) + (a * c).


So, by that, 20 x (10 + 7) = (20 x 10) + (20 x 7)

                                       = 200 + 140 

                                       = 340 


Thus, 20 x (10 + 7) = 340

3.  Marissa donated $100 to a charity on Monday whereas Leonard donated $20 to the same charity for 5 days each. What is the total amount received by the charity?


Answer: As per the problem, Marissa donated $100 to the charity. Leonard donated ($20 x 5) to the charity for 5 days, which is $100. As you can see, both the numbers are whole numbers, thus by finding the total through the addition operation, we will get a whole number as well as a result.


Total amount received by the charity = $100 + $100

                                                            = $200


The charity received $200 in total from Marissa and Leonard.

Frequently Asked Questions on Whole Numbers

Here are some differences between whole numbers and natural numbers:




Here are some interesting facts about whole numbers:


  • All natural numbers are whole numbers.
  • All counting numbers are whole numbers.
  • All positive integers along with 0 are whole numbers.
  • All whole numbers are real numbers.