2Essential Arithmetic

Every number system (and, yes, there are or have been others) is made up of a set of symbols that we call numbers and one or more operations you can perform with them. Those operations make up what we call arithmetic. The basic operation in our number system is addition, the act of putting together. The other operations—multiplication, subtraction, division—are related to, or built from, addition.


Addition is, at its heart, about counting. If you have 6 pair of shoes and you buy 3 new pairs, counting will tell you that you now have 9 pairs. You added 6 + 3 and got an answer of 9 by counting. After a while you don't have to count every time, because you get to know that 6 + 3 = 9.

You store a lot of addition ...

Get All the Math You'll Ever Need, 3rd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.