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To fix this problem, we need a new set of numbers to the left of the zero on the number line.

number line showing integers from -6 to 6...  -6, -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
These are negative numbers!

Let's go back and finish our problem:

2 - 5

number line showing integers from -6 to 6 with a dot over the 2 and arrows jumping back (to the left) 5 places and landing on -3

2 - 5 = -3

 

So...  How do you THINK about a problem like this?

Go back to the easy one:

5 - 2 = 3

You have 5 apples...
You give
2 apples to a friend...
You have
3 apples left.