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What Are the Four Coordinate Plane Quadrants?

coordinate plane quadrants drawn on a blackboard

There are four coordinate plane quadrants you’ll need to know when plotting points or graphing lines on the coordinate plane. The coordinate plane, also known as the coordinate grid, cartesian coordinate system, or Cartesian plane, is constructed by taking a vertical axis, or the y-axis and setting it against a horizontal axis, or the x-axis. This creates a grid with four quadrants.

The four coordinate plane quadrants don't have names but are simply known as the first quadrant, second quadrant, third quadrant, and fourth quadrant.

Characteristics of Each of the Coordinate Plane Quadrants

As we know, each ordered pair of a point on the graph has an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate. In each pair of numbers, the first number represents the x-coordinate, and the second number represents the y-number. Each axis is a number line (horizontal number line for the x-axis, and vertical number line for the y-axis) that goes on forever in the negative direction (negative infinity) and positive direction (positive infinity).

On the x-axis, a positive x coordinate will be in the right quadrants and a negative x coordinate will be in the left quadrants. For the y-axis, a positive y-coordinate will be on the top half and a negative y-coordinate will be on the bottom half. Here are the characteristics for each of the four coordinate plane quadrants:

Quadrant I: positive x and positive y

Quadrant II: negative x and positive y

Quadrant III: negative x and negative y

Quadrant IV: positive x and negative y

four coordinate plane

Understanding the Four Coordinate Plane Quadrants

Knowing the characteristics for each of the quadrants means you can place a list of plot points simply by looking at the x values and y values and seeing whether they are positive numbers or negative numbers.

For example, a coordinate pair of (1, 4) will be in Quadrant I because both the x-value and y-value are positive. A coordinate pair of (-3, -3) will be in Quadrant III because both the x-value and the y-value are positive. And that’s all you need to know regarding the four coordinate plane quadrants on the Cartesian plane!

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