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In mathematics, a rational number is any number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction p/q of two integers, with the denominator q not equal to zero. Since q may be equal to 1, every integer is a rational number. The set of all rational numbers is usually denoted by a boldface Q (or blackboard bold , Unicode ), which stands for quotient.

The decimal expansion of a rational number always either terminates after a finite number of digits or begins to repeat the same finite sequence of digits over and over. Moreover, any repeating or terminating decimal represents a rational number. These statements hold true not just for base 10, but also for binary, hexadecimal, or any other integer base.

A real number that is not rational is called irrational. Irrational numbers include 2, , and e. The decimal expansion of an irrational number continues forever without repeating. Since the set of rational numbers is countable, and the set of real numbers is uncountable, almost all real numbers are irrational.

The term rational in reference to the set Q refers to the fact that a rational number represents a ratio of two integers. In mathematics, the adjective rational often means that the underlying field considered is the field Q of rational numbers. Rational polynomial usually, and most correctly, means a polynomial with rational coefficients, also called a polynomial over the rationals. However, rational function does not mean the underlying field is the rational numbers, and a rational algebraic curve is not an algebraic curve with rational coefficients

The term rational in reference to the set Q refers to the fact that a rational number represents a ratio of two integers. In mathematics, the adjective rational often means that the underlying field considered is the field Q of rational numbers. Rational polynomial usually, and most correctly, means a polynomial with rational coefficients, also called a polynomial over the rationals. However, rational function does not mean the underlying field is the rational numbers, and a rational algebraic curve is not an algebraic curve with rational coefficients

The rationals are a dense subset of the real numbers: every real number has rational numbers arbitrarily close to it. A related property is that rational numbers are the only numbers with finite expansions as regular continued fractions. By virtue of their order, the rationals carry an order topology. The rational numbers, as a subspace of the real numbers, also carry a subspace topology. The rational numbers form a metric space by using the absolute difference metric d(x,y) = |x y|, and this yields a third topology on Q. All three topologies coincide and turn the rationals into a topological field. The rational numbers are an important example of a space which is not locally compact. The rationals are characterized topologically as the unique countable metrizable space without isolated points. The space is also total disconnected. The rational numbers do not form a complete metric space; the real numbers are the completion of Q under the metric d(x,y) = |x y|, above.

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