Many students are uncomfortable with the concept of absolute value. They often think of itÂ as some magic trick that makes everything positive. In a sense this is correct, but if that’s how you think about absolute value, then solving absolute value equations and inequalities will just be more complicated magic tricks. In other words, this view of absolute value is uninformative – it doesn’t give you any conceptual basis for understanding these problems.

So how should one think about absolute value?