Mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are considered to be the most basic. Each has its own unique symbol that corresponds to it. The symbol representing addition is a plus sign, or (+). The symbol for subtraction is a negative sign, or a minus sign. The signs “x”, “*”, and “•” all represent the multiplication operation. Both the obelus and the forward slash (/) are used for dividing text.

The purpose of addition is to discover the sum or total of two or more numbers, while the objective of subtraction is to determine the difference between two values. The basic operation of multiplication is addition performed many times; in a multiplication equation, one of the numbers represents the number of times the other number must be added to itself. The opposite operation of multiplication is division.