Understanding decimals starts with a good understanding of decimal place value. Therefore, I recommend that you start by carefully studying decimals place value before studying the other lessons on this page.
Once you are done reading this introduction about decimals, you can start studying the other lessons in the order given.
What is a decimal? When examining the word decimal, you can recognize the prefix deci. And deci is equal to 1/10 or 0.1
Generally speaking though, a decimal is referring to any proper or improper fraction whose denominator is 10, 100, 1000, and so forth...
For example, the following are all examples of decimals.
5/10 = 0.5
2/100 = 0.02
16/1000 = 0.016
1/100 = 0.01
195/10000 = 0.0195
45/10 = 4.5
234/100 = 2.34
Notice that the first 5 are proper fractions and the last two are improper fractions.
A few important terminology to keep in mind about the decimals.
- A proper fraction whose denominator can be written as a power of 10 is called a decimal fraction. 5/10 = 0.5 and 16/1000 = 0.016 are examples of decimal fractions.
- An improper fraction whose denominator can be written as a power of 10 is called a mixed decimal. 45/10 = 4.5 and 234/100 = 2.34 are examples of mixed decimals.
- We can say that a decimal is a combination of a whole number and a fraction of a whole number.
- Notice also that a whole number is also a decimal. For example, 69 can also be written as 69.0 since 69 = 69.0.
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