What Is a Number Sentence?

A number sentence is an equation or an inequality which is written with numbers and symbols rather than words. The term is most often used in the early grades when students are learning addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Common symbols used in number sentences include: +, -, x, / or ÷, =, < and >. The last two, the “less than” and “greater than” signs are used in inequalities, where one side is not equal to the other. Students working on number sentences often have one number place of the sentence as an unknown to teach them how to do various computations necessary for solving equations. An example of a number sentence is 5 + 4 = 9.