Subtracting fractions


Subtracting fractions is easier than you think and it is very similar to adding fractions

Just like adding fractions, there are two important things you need to know:

First, you cannot add the denominators; you can only add the numerators

Second, you can only add the numerator when the denominator is the same for both fractions. Your denominator will stay the same.

Having said that, just like adding fractions, if the denominators are different, you will first find equivalent fractions that give a common denominator for both fractions

Example #1:

5 / 2
 − 
1 / 2
= ?


There is no need to look for a common denominator because they are already the same

So,  
5 / 2
 − 
1 / 2
 = 
5 − 1 / 2
 = 
4 / 2
= 2


Example #2:

7 / 3
 − 
3 / 6
= ?


Here the denominator are not the same, so multiply 3 by 2 to get the same denominator

Remember that we have to multiply 7 by 2 also in order not to change the problem

So,  
7 / 3
 − 
3 / 6
 = 
7 × 2 / 3 × 2
 − 
3 / 6
 = 
14 / 6
 − 
3 / 6
 = 
11 / 6


Example #3:

3 / 5
 − 
2 / 4
= ?


So,  
3 / 5
 − 
2 / 4
 = 
3 × 4 / 5 × 4
 − 
2 × 5 / 4 × 5
 = 
12 / 20
 − 
10 / 20
 = 
2 / 20


5 / 2
 − 
1 / 2
= ?


There is no need to look for a common denominator because they are already the same

So,  
5 / 2
 − 
1 / 2
 = 
5 − 1 / 2
 = 
4 / 2
= 2


Example #2:

7 / 3
 − 
3 / 6
= ?


Here the denominator are not the same, so multiply 3 by 2 to get the same denominator

Remember that we have to multiply 7 by 2 also in order not to change the problem

So,  
7 / 3
 − 
3 / 6
 = 
7 × 2 / 3 × 2
 − 
3 / 6
 = 
14 / 6
 − 
3 / 6
 = 
11 / 6


Example #3:

3 / 5
 − 
2 / 4
= ?


So,  
3 / 5
 − 
2 / 4
 = 
3 × 4 / 5 × 4
 − 
2 × 5 / 4 × 5
 = 
12 / 20
 − 
10 / 20
 = 
2 / 20


Subtracting fractions quiz. See how well you can subtract fractions.




Still struggling with fractions? Get rid of your fears and frustrations once and for all!

Buy my ebook. It offers a thorough coverage of fractions!


Fractions ebook cover





Recent Articles

  1. Printable first grade math test

    Mar 24, 17 09:43 AM

    A printable first grade math test that can readily be printed and taken to find out how well you or your kids know very basic concepts of math.

    Read More

New math lessons

Your email is safe with us. We will only use it to inform you about new math lessons.

            Follow me on Pinterest


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape






Recent Lessons

  1. Printable first grade math test

    Mar 24, 17 09:43 AM

    A printable first grade math test that can readily be printed and taken to find out how well you or your kids know very basic concepts of math.

    Read More