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if x < 0, then x is negative, thus -x is positive, and |x| as the absolute value is a positive value - so it's equivalent is positive positive X^2 the square root of which is positive x. If x is negative, then -x is positive.

I guess I have not paid much attention to abs value concepts...does anyone know of any websites/posts that cover everything from the basic to the advanced? thx

Guys, does n't this have to be -X instead of X ?
If it were -X and let us say we pick a value of -3 for X (because X < 0), then the result would be -(-3) = 3. This does not agree with what was given in the question.