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Adding and Subtracting Fractions

Adding and subtracting fractions may seem tricky at first, but if you follow a few simple steps and work a lot of practice problems, you will have the hang of it in no time.

Here are some steps to follow: Note: The denominator may have changed when you converted the fractions to the same common denominator.

Simple Example

A simple example is when the denominators are already the same:

Since the denominators are the same in each question, you just add or subtract the numerators to get the answers.

Harder Example

Here we will try a problem where the denominators are not the same.

As you can see, these fractions do not have the same denominator. Before we can add the fractions together, we must first create equivalent fractions that have common denominators.

Find the Common Denominator

To find a common denominator, we must multiply each fraction by the other fraction's denominator (the one the bottom). If we multiply both the top and the bottom of the fraction by the same number, its just like multiplying it by 1, so the value of the fraction stays the same. See the example below:

Add the Numerators

Now that the denominators are the same, you can add the numerators and put the answer over the same denominator.

Subtracting Fractions Example

Here is an example of subtracting fractions where only one denominator needs to be changed:

Reduce Your Final Answer

Sometimes the answer will need to be reduced. Here is an example:

The initial answer after adding the numerators was 10/15, however this fraction can be further reduced to 2/3 as shown in the last step.

Tips for Adding and Subtracting Fractions

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