How to interpret the remainder

This lesson will show 4 ways to interpret the remainder. Depending on the division problem you are solving, the 4 ways to interpret the remainder are the following.

  • Write the remainder as a fraction
  • Add 1 to the quotient
  • Use only the remainder (or drop the quotient)
  • Drop the remainder (or use only the quotient)

Example #1

Write the remainder as a fraction

Sarah has a piece of twizzlers candy that is 16 inches long. She wants to share the whole candy with four friends so that each person has the same amount.
How long will each piece be?


Divide 16 by 5. The answer is 3 r1

The remainder, 1 inch, can be divided into 5 equal pieces.

1 / 5

The length of each piece of candy will be 3
1 / 5

Example #2

Add 1 to the quotient

Thirty people are going to a wedding. They want to put 4 people in each car so that people can sit comfortably. How many cars will be needed?


Divide 30 by 4. The answer is 7 r2

The answer shows that 7 cars will be needed, but 2 people still need to go to a car.

Therefore, they will need 8 cars.

Example #3

Use only the remainder

David has 20 dollars in his pocket. He wants to give the same amount of money to 3 friends.  The rest of the money, if any,  will go to his sister to buy candies. How much money will go to his sister if David wants to give away everything he has?


Divide 20 by 3. The answer is 6 r2

The remainder is 2, so 2 dollars will go to his sister.

Example #4

Drop the remainder

Darlene has 50 dollars in her pocket. She wants to buy meals for 6 best friends. If each meal costs 9 dollars, will Darlene be able to keep all her friends happy?


Divide 50 by 9. The answer is 5 r5

Darlene can only buys 5 meals. Therefore, somebody will not be happy. 

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