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I currently have a slope that looks like this:

$\frac{-5}{10}$

However, I need to bring it down to it's lowest terms, so I divided the numerator and denominator by -5 and I got:

$\frac{1}{-2}$

Although, if I divide it by 5 I get:

$\frac{-1}{2}$

Would it matter which answer I chose for the slope?

Also, I've been told that a slope should be in integers, is this true?

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Note that $\frac{-1}{2}=\frac{1}{-2}$ as you have just shown. This is as $\frac{-1}{-1}=1$, so notice multiplying either fraction by this yields the other, but this is multiplying by $1$, so this does not change the number. –  user45150 Jan 31 '13 at 23:32
    
It is a fairly common convention to try to make denominators positive. –  André Nicolas Jan 31 '13 at 23:47
    
Negative slope means the curve is moving in opposite directions on x- and y-axes -- towards negative on y-axis while the value on x-axis increases. A negative number is negative, doesn't matter where the '-' sign is. –  ashley Feb 1 '13 at 0:13
1  
Anyone who tells you that a slope should be in whole numbers should have their Mathematician's license revoked. Inform the Math Cabal (shh. It's supposed to be a secret) of the individual and they'll handle it, usually with extremely messy results. –  Rick Decker Feb 1 '13 at 1:07
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is just a style question. There is no difference between having the negative sign in the top, bottom, or out in front of the whole thing and they can all be correct. Personally, I put the negative sign out in front of the entire fraction. As for whole numbers, as long as both the numerator and the denominator are integers, it should be fine.

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