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Memorize Greater than (<) VS Less than (<) Signs: Remembering Math inequalities Symbols

Tricks to Remember Greater-than > Symbol VS Less-than < Symbol

What comes into your mind when you see these two signs <   >?

Math, perhaps!

Jokes aside, how many of you thought of the Greater than and less than symbols? 99 out of 100, I guess. But how many of you actually know which one is which? Not many of you can. 

But don’t worry. We won’t be revising your 5th-grade mathematics in this article. But will be discussing a rather disregarded factor in the not-so-amazing world of mathematics… “Distinguishing the greater than and less than symbols.”

But, first thing first.

What do these < and > signs mean?

As the name suggests, the < and > signs are called less than and greater than signs. But these names have a mathematical name, called ‘inequalities’.

What are the inequalities used for?

The inequalities are used in mathematics when a comparison is to be made between two objects. 

When the answer to a problem is unclear, or when the person solving a question needs to show the relationship between two different quantities, they use the greater than or less than symbols, or the inequalities.

Moreover, rather than actually being involved in solving problems, the greater than and less than signs are used to indicate whether a value is greater than or less than the other. 

So, which sign is which?

Greater than sign ‘>’

The ‘>’ sign is the greater than sign. This symbol indicates that one character is greater than the other.

For example, between the numbers 100 and 104, 104 is the greater one. It will be indicated by using the greater than symbol as:

104 > 100.

Less than sign ‘<‘

It is now quite self-understood that the ‘<’ symbol denotes the less than the element in an operation. This implies that the value facing the closed end of this symbol is less than the other.

For example, if we are given two numbers for comparison, that is, 95 and 76, obviously, 76 is the lesser one in value. It will be denoted by means of the less than symbol as:

76 < 95

5 Methods to Remember ‘Greater-than >’ and ‘Less-than <‘ Sign:-

Now, coming to the main topic, we promised that we would help you in distinguishing the greater-than sign from the less-than sign, in this article.

So, let’s quickly jump on to the main essence of this transcript without further ado.

  • The basic ‘determining the numbers’ method
  • The Alligator method
  • The ‘L’ Rule
  • The Rule of ‘7’
  • The ‘reverse psychology’ method.

Method #1: Basic ‘Determining the Numbers’ Method

The foremost method of distinguishing between the greater than a sign from the less-than sign (> VS <) is by determining the numbers on each end of the given symbol.

How to identify the greater than symbol and less than sign by using the basic identification method?

The easiest way to remember the greater than (>) and less than (<) sign by using the basic identification method is to determine:

  1. The numbered value written on both the sides of the symbol given, either < or >, and,
  2. Then observe if the bigger number is facing the symbol with two cones (Shaped as the open mouth)
  3. If step 2 is correct then, a number in front of the mouth is the bigger one and the symbol is greater than.
  4. If step 2 is observed as false then the symbol needs to flip to 180 degrees to make the equation correct.
Simple Method of Greater than VS Smaller than Symbol Identification
Simple Method of Greater than VS Smaller than Symbol Identification

Therefore, the symbol is checked to see if what value it is facing. If the mouth of the symbol is facing the greater number, it signifies that it is greater than the sign, otherwise the smaller symbol it is.

#2 Alligator Method to Remember Greater VS Smaller than Symbols:-

The second most prevalent way to remember the greater than and less than sign is by using the Alligator method.

Which method, you ask?

Well, I bet you have learned of this method in primary school, and will surely remember it once recalled.

How to remember the greater than and less than sign by using the alligator method?

In this method, you consider the pointing side of the symbols < and > as the tail of the alligator and two-cones side as the mouth of the alligator and a hungry one, that is it! Then, you imagine that the alligator will want to eat the greater number to get his tummy full. Thus, whichever of the given numbers is larger, the alligator will open its mouth towards that number.

Alligator Method to Remember Greater VS Smaller than Symbols
Alligator Method to Remember Greater VS Smaller than Symbols

For example, if we are given two numbers 5 and 9, the alligator will want to eat number 9, indicating that 9 is greater than 3.

Smaller than VS Greater than Symbol identification by Alligator Rule
Smaller than VS Greater than Symbol identification by Alligator Rule

#3 The ‘L’ Rule of Less-than VS Greater-than Symbol:-

Another easy method to remember the greater than and less than sign is by using the ‘L’ Rule.

How to remember the greater than and less than sign by using the ‘L’ Rule?

In order to distinguish the greater than and less than signs from one another, you have to remember one basic thing:

The word ‘less than; starts with ‘L.’ and the less than symbol looks like this: ‘<’

If you look closely, the ‘<’ symbol looks like a crooked ‘L’. Thus, whichever sign looks like an ‘L,’ is less than a symbol as shown in the example below:

The ‘L’ Rule of Less-than VS Greater-than Symbol shows value on left of symbol will be less than
The ‘L’ Rule of Less-than VS Greater-than Symbol shows value on left of the symbol will be less than

#4 Crooked ‘7’ Rule to Remember Greater-than Symbol:-

Another great trick to remember the greater than and less than sign is to use the rule of ‘7.’ 

How to remember the greater than and less than sign by using the Rule of ‘7?’

Just like the ‘L’ Rule, you can differentiate both the symbols by using the rule of ‘7.’ To distinguish the greater than and less than signs from one another, you have to remember that whichever side looks like a 7, is the greater than sign.

In this case, the ‘>’ sign looks like a crooked ‘7’ and so, is the greater than the sign as shown below:

Crooked 7 Rule to Remember that the value on left of this symbol will be greater than
Crooked 7 Rule to Remember that the value on the left of this symbol will be greater than

#5 ‘It’s not what you think’ Method to Remember Greater-than Sign:-

If none of the above-mentioned ways work for you or seems difficult to remember greater or less than symbol, then you can easily use this tip to remember the greater than and less than sign.

How to remember the greater than and less than sign by the reverse psychology method?

If you take a deep look at it, we are tempted to draw the inequality symbols like this:

< >

And to read it as ‘greater than and less than,’ tricking our mind into believing that the < sign refers to greater than.

However, the reality is quite opposite! So, the next time you feel like < is the greater than sign, don’t believe your mind.

Summary:-

I hope this article helped you in remembering the greater than ‘>’ and less than ‘<‘ signs. If it did, let us know in the comments section below.

Yousaf Saeed (Scholarship Winner)

It is our pleasure to have Yousaf Saeed on our Guest Authors list. He is a top educationist and renowned research with major publications in his field of interest. Yousaf won a total of 3 fully-funded scholarships to complete his academic career and also won numerous fundings for attending international academic conferences. He is known for his mentorship for helping students to find and apply for international academic opportunities.

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