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with quadratic equations how do I know when to add or subtract!

Mathematics
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Where are you asking about adding or subtracting?
well with \[1\pm \sqrt{1^2 -4(1)(-4)} \] would this be a situation to add since a neg 4 times a neg 4 is a positive 16
Yes. You would add.

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okay beacuse in my math book there is a similar one and they subtracted. it was \[-2 \pm \sqrt{2^2 - 4(5)(-2)} \over 2(5)\]
Well, you add inside the square root for both cases because you're multiplying two negative numbers together.
right but the answer in the book depends on it being subtracted. So is the book just plain wrong?

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