Why am I getting two numbers when taking the square root?


A common situation that confuses many people in math is the process of taking the square root of a number or variable. The answer in most cases would provide two numbers, a negative number and a positive number. 

For example, if we have the number 16 and we take the square root, we will get two answers: 4 and -4. The reason why this happens is because when squaring numbers (multiplying them by themselves), the negative sign "goes away". A negative number times a negative number is a positive number. Because "squaring" means we are multiplying that number by itself one time, the negative sign "goes away". 

This information is important and explains why we get two numbers when taking the square root. In our example, 4 times 4 is equal to 16, and -4 times -4 is also equal to 16!

  • Last Updated Mar 01, 2024
  • Views 1
  • Answered By Thomas-Jay Rusk

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