Finding Points on a Coordinate Plane


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The coordinate plane is formed by two intersecting number lines: the horizontal x-axis and the vertical y-axis. The point where they intersect is called the origin, and is marked as (0, 0). The numbers that identify a point on a coordinate plane are called an ordered pair, and they always are written in the same order: first is the location along the x-axis, and second is the location along the y-axis.


One way to think about the coordinate plane is to break it up into four parts. The two axes divide the coordinate plane into four quadrants:

  Quadrants on coordinate plane

Quadrant I is in the upper right region, where both x and y values are positive. For example, the point (2, 3) lies in Quadrant I in this coordinate plane:


Quadrant II is in the upper left region, where x values are negative and y values are positive. For example, the point (-3, 4) is in Quadrant II here:


Quadrant III contains points with negative x and y values and is the lower left region. The point (-5, -2) lies in Quadrant III:


Quadrant IV contains points with a positive x value but negative y value and is the lower right region. For instance, (4, -6) is in Quadrant IV:

  To plot a point and find its coordinates:  
  • First identify the x and y values. Let's use the point (-2,5) as an example.
  • Look along the x-axis and go left 2 units from the origin.
  • Then go up 5 units from the origin along the y-axis.
  • Where those values intersect is the point (-2,5):