Subtract Fractions

This tutorial will discuss strategies for subtracting fractions and mixed numbers

Rules for Subtracting Fractions

Follow these rules for subtracting fractions.

  1. Make sure the denominators (the bottom numbers) are the same.
  2. Subtract the numerators (the top numbers only), put the number over the common denominator.
  3. Simplify the fraction (if necessary).

Look at this example:

subtract fractions

Subtracting Fractions with Unlike Denominators

But what if the denominators are different such as 1/2 – 1/6

You must find the least common denominator in this case (2 x 6 = 12)

The factions should be changed to have a common denominator so 1/2 – 1/6 ——–> 6/12 – 2/12

Follow the above rules: 6/12 – 2/12 = 4/12 then simplify to 1/3.


Subtracting Mixed Numbers

Change mixed numbers to improper fractions then follow the above rules. Once the subtraction is complete change the answer to a mixed number.

subtracting fractions

Watch a Video Tutorial

Here is a video tutorial comparing fractions.

Interactive Class on this Topic

Take an interactive middle school math class on this material, click here.

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