Every whole number is indeed a natural number, but not every natural number is a whole number. Understanding the relationship between these two types of numbers is fundamental in mathematics and is crucial for anyone studying arithmetic.
Natural Numbers
Natural numbers are the set of positive integers that start from 1 and continue on to infinity. They are commonly denoted by the symbol N. The set of natural numbers includes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. In other words, natural numbers are the counting numbers used for counting and ordering objects.
Whole Numbers
Whole numbers are similar to natural numbers but with the inclusion of zero (0). The set of whole numbers is denoted by W and includes 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so forth. In essence, whole numbers are natural numbers along with zero.
Distinguishing Between the Two

Inclusion of Zero: The key distinction between natural numbers and whole numbers is the inclusion of zero. Natural numbers do not include zero, while whole numbers comprise all natural numbers and zero.

Set Notations: N represents the set of natural numbers, whereas W represents the set of whole numbers. This difference in notation signifies the relationship between the two sets.

Counting Objects: Natural numbers are primarily used for counting objects starting from 1, while whole numbers are used for counting objects starting from zero.
Properties of Natural and Whole Numbers
Closure Properties

Natural Numbers: Natural numbers are closed under addition and multiplication. When a natural number is added to or multiplied by another natural number, the result is always a natural number.

Whole Numbers: Whole numbers are also closed under addition and multiplication. Adding or multiplying two whole numbers always results in another whole number.
Identity Properties

Natural Numbers: The identity element for addition in natural numbers is 0, as adding 0 to any natural number does not change the number. For multiplication, the identity element is 1, as multiplying any natural number by 1 gives the same number.

Whole Numbers: Zero (0) serves as the identity element for addition in whole numbers, while 1 acts as the identity element for multiplication in whole numbers.
Order Properties

Natural Numbers: Natural numbers follow a strict order where each number is greater than the preceding one. This order is essential for counting and sequencing.

Whole Numbers: Whole numbers also maintain the order property similar to natural numbers, with each whole number being greater than the previous one, including zero.
FAQs About Natural and Whole Numbers
1. Can negative numbers be considered natural or whole numbers?
Negative numbers are neither natural nor whole numbers. Natural numbers start from 1 onwards, while whole numbers include zero and the positive integers.
2. Are natural numbers closed under subtraction and division?
Natural numbers are not closed under subtraction and division. Subtracting or dividing one natural number from another may result in a number that is not a natural number.
3. Why is zero included in whole numbers but not in natural numbers?
Zero is included in whole numbers because it represents the absence of any quantity. Natural numbers start from 1, representing the concept of counting objects.
4. Which set of numbers includes all integers, including negative integers?
The set of integers (Z) includes all whole numbers (including zero) and their negative counterparts, along with zero.
5. Can fractions or decimals be considered natural or whole numbers?
Fractions and decimals are not considered natural or whole numbers. Natural numbers are discrete counting numbers, while whole numbers are natural numbers and zero.
In summary, while every whole number is a natural number, not every natural number is a whole number due to the presence of zero in the latter. Understanding the distinctions and properties of natural and whole numbers is essential for building a strong foundation in mathematics and number theory.