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Issue recognizing exponential problems

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If normal is a pH of 7, and you have a pH of 8, you are 10x less acidic. It's just how pH is designed to work. Every digit down (or up) corresponds to a 10 fold increase (or decrease) in concentration of the H+ ion.

If you want to convert to real numbers, rather than funny ones, then you can get the actual value of the concentration of the H ion by finding 10^(-x) where x is your pH. From there normal math that you're accustomed to applies. Then you can move back to the pH scale after. You can see this is exactly what your book is having you do, just less explicitly.

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