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Subtracting fractions word problems

Subtracting fractions word problems arise in many situations Let's consider some examples

Before you study this lesson, I strongly recommend you to study or review comparing fractions  or  comparing fractions calculator It is important because when subtracting fractions, we always subtract the smaller fraction from the bigger when doing basic math.

For instance, 1/2 is smaller than 2/3, so you will do

2/3 - 1/2

Example #1:
A recipe needs 3/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 red pepper. How much more black pepper does the recipe need?

This fraction word problem requires subtraction


The fact that the problem is asking how much more black pepper the recipe needs is an indication that 3/4 is bigger than 1/4

However, it does not hurt to check!

3/4 - 1/4 = 2/4 = 1/2

The black pepper is 1/2 of a teaspoon more than the red pepper.

Example #2:
A football player advances 2/3 of a yard. A second player in the same team advances 5/4 of a yard. How much more yard did the second player advance?

Again, we need to perform subtraction to solve this problem.


5/4 - 2/3 = 15/12 - 8/12 = 7/12

6/12 is = 1/2, so 7/12 is just a bit more than half.

So, the second player advanced by about about half of a yard more

Example #3:
John lives 3/8 mile from the Museum of Science. Sylvia leaves 1/4 mile from the Museum of Science. How much closer is Sylvia from the museum?


The fact that the word problem is saying how much closer Sylvia is is an indication that 1/4 is smaller than 3/8

3/8 - 1/4 = 3/8 - 2/8 = 1/8

Sylvia is closer to the library by 1/8 mile.

You can also say that John is further away by 1/8 mile.

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