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What Is a Whole Number? (Mathematics Glossary)

What Is A Whole Number?

The whole numbers are the numbers:

Whole Numbers As Counting Numbers

Whole numbers can be used to count a whole number of objects or say whether there are no objects at all.

Note: Mathematicians usually call the numbers from 1 upwards (1, 2, 3...) counting numbers or natural numbers. If we include 0, this becomes the whole numbers.

Whole Numbers on the Number Line

The image below shows the whole numbers on the number line.

Note: The whole numbers are not found in between the numbers shown.

Natural Numbers, Whole Numbers and Integers

The difference between natural numbers, whole numbers and integers can be quite confusing.

  • Natural numbers start from 1: {1, 2, 3 ...}
  • Whole numbers start from 0: {0, 1, 2, 3 ...}
  • Integers have negative numbers: {-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 ...}

Read more about the types of whole numbers
Interactive Test

Here's a second test on whole numbers.
Here's a third test on whole numbers.

What Whole Numbers Are

Whole numbers are integers that aren't negative.

What Natural Numbers Are Not

Natural numbers are not negative (such as -1) and are not fractions (part of a whole number, such as ½ or 0.3).

The Whole Numbers Are the Natural Numbers Plus 0

The whole numbers are the set of natural numbers with 0 included.

If the natural numbers are:

1, 2, 3...

The whole numbers are:

0, 1, 2, 3...