# Not Equal Sign: Definition and Examples

reviewed by Jo-ann Caballes

Updated on October 6, 2024

Welcome to Brighterly, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about key math concepts in a way that’s easy to understand and exciting to engage with!

Today, we’re covering an important mathematical symbol: the not equal sign.

Here, we’ll cover what the not equal sign means, the is not equal symbol and how you can use the not equal sign in real life. We’ll also give you the resources to become a math master, with free worksheets and solved math tasks for you to use as practice.

## What is the not equal sign?

The not equal sign is a symbol in math. It operates as a counterpart to the more commonly used equal symbol. In essence, it is the opposite of the equal symbol.

It’s used to indicate that two expressions or values are not equal: i.e. they are different from one another.

Like the less than and greater than symbols, the don’t equal sign is one of the inequality symbols in math, representing that two values are not the same as each other.

It can be used to express both known and unknown numbers. For example, if we have the numbers 6 and 9, we can use the does not equal sign to indicate that they are not the same: 6 ≠ 9.

Equally, if we have x and 9, we can also use the not equal sign to indicate that the number x represents is not equal to 9: x ≠ 9.

### What does ≠ mean?

The ≠ meaning is that two values or expressions are not equal. This is the symbol for does not equal. You may also see it referred to as:

- Doesn’t equal sign
- Unequal sign
- Not equal to sign
- Is not equal sign

## Not equal symbol

The not equal sign is expressed as ≠.

To use the symbol for not equal to, you need an expression or value on either side of it.

As well as representing that individual values are not equal, it can also be used in place of the equals sign in an equation to show that the result of that equation is not equal to a number or another equation.

For example, if x + y = 7, and 5 + y ≠ 7, we can eliminate the number 2 as a possibility for y. This can be used over and over again until you can find the value of your numbers expressed by x and y.

## How to get not equal sign

To hand-draw the not equal sign, first draw an equal sign (=). Then, draw a diagonal line through it that trends upwards from the left to the right: ≠

If you’re looking for information on how to do the not equal sign on a computer, you can use the following tips.

### On a PC using Word or the Microsoft Office suite

If you’re using Word or another programme from the Microsoft Office suite, first place your cursor where you’d like your not equal sign to be. Next, hold down the “alt” key and type the numbers 8800.

Alternatively, you can type out the numbers 2260, then hold the “alt” key and press X to create the symbol for not equal to.

### On a Mac using Word or the Microsoft Office suite

If you’re using a Microsoft document on a Mac, the actions are slightly different. Hold down the “option” key and press +=.

Alternatively, hold the “control” and “command” keys then press the space bar to bring up the character viewer. Navigate to the math symbols section and choose the not equal sign.

### Within a Google Doc

In a Google Doc, you don’t use your keyboard to type a not equal sign. Simply navigate to “insert”, then “special character”, then you can search the term “not equal” to find and add the don’t equal sign to your document.

## Not equal sign in real life

There are many ways we can use the not equal sign in real life. Here are some examples:

- Weighing ingredients for cooking or baking – not all ingredient weights will be equal
- When you’re measuring your height and your family’s height – you won’t all be the same height
- Measuring test scores in your class – not everyone will have achieved the same score
- Shopping for food – not all of your groceries will cost the same amount of money

## Solved math tasks: examples

Ready to put your knowledge of inequalities and the not equal sign into practice? Try out our math tasks yourself, then come back and check if you got the answers right.

### Solved math task 1

Andrew and Sarah are brother and sister. They both measure their heights. Are they of equal height?

#### Answer:

We can see that they are not of equal height. |

Therefore, we can express this as 3”8 ≠ 3”3 using the is not equal symbol.

### Solved math task 2

We are weighing different types of food against one another. The fruit and vegetables weigh 500 g, while the burger weighs 400 g. Are they of equal weight?

#### Answer:

No, they are not equal – we can see from the scale and also by comparing the two weights. |

The weights can therefore be expressed as 500 g ≠ 400 g using the is not equal sign.

### Solved math task 3

How would you shorten the following statement:

The value of n is not equal to the number 9.

#### Answer:

n ≠ 9. |

The not equal sign expresses that the values of n and 9 are not equal to one another.

## Not equal sign: worksheets

Ready to improve your knowledge on inequalities and the not equal sign even more? Try out our free math worksheets and become a master of inequalities and mathematical symbols!