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Since vector of acceleration due to gravity is directed downwards...so we consider it - 9.8 m/s^2 . So in accordance to this, if we find total acceleration then we should subtract 9.8 m/s^2 from 'x ' m/s^2 because...firstly, gravity is -9.8 m/s^2 and secondly, acceleration due to gravity will constantly decrease if the rocket or object will continue going up int he sky with that X acceleration. So why should 9.8 m/s^2 be added to X m/s^2 and not subtracted ?