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# Distance Between Points on a Number Line

If a and b are any two points on a number line, then the distance between a and b is given by

| a - b | or | b - a |.

Absolute value is used because distance is cannot be a negative number.

Example 1

Find the distance on a number line between -6 and 4.

 Solution Let a = -6 and b = 4. Subtract. Find the absolute value. The distance between -6 and 4 is 10 units. | a - b | = | -6 - 4 | = | -10 | = 10

Note:

We could also find the distance between -6 and 4 by computing | 4 - (-6) |.