How to add and subtract common fractions.
Common fractions can only be added or subtracted only if they have they have common denominators.
The 'denominator' of a common fraction is the bottom number. Fractions having the same denominator, are said to have common denominators.
For example, these fractions have a common denominator of '4', so it is possible to add them:
When adding fractions with common denominators, add the numerators.
The 'numerator' of a common fraction is the top number.
In the same way, you can subtract fractions with common denominators by subtracting the numerators from each other:
If two fractions do not have a common denominator, you can still add and subtract them, but you must first change them so that they do have a common denominator.
There is a simple rule that works for any two fractions. This rule is based on the fact that if you multiply both the numerator and the denominator of a fraction by the same number, then the value of the fraction has not changed.
Here is the rule:
To add fractions using this rule you:
Because , the fractions now have a common denominator and can be added.
For example, to add these fractions:
We first apply the rule, like this:
Simplifying, we have:
For subtraction, the rule is exactly the same, but you subtract the numbers in the numerator instead of add.
The 'Method' section below shows you how you can use 'Algematics'
to help with adding and subtracting fractions. It will also correct your work.
In Algematics, you type common fractions with both numbers on the same line,
Type mixed numbers as the sum of the whole number and the fraction in brackets,
Use the (simplify) command to convert mixed numbers to improper fractions in their lowest terms.
Use the (common denominator) command to display the working for adding or subtracting two common fractions.
The steps below demonstrate how to add or subtract common fractions showing working, and also how to add or subtract mixed numbers.
Step 1 Set display options
Click to display the ‘Set Colours And Fonts’ Dialog Box.
Make sure that this check box option is not selected:
o Use ¸ signs, eg: 2¸a
and then click
Step 2 Enter the data
Click and type your expression into the maths box in the data entry dialog box.
If the ‘EMPTY’ message is not displayed between the blue buttons, click the button until the message: ‘INSERT’ appears.
the ‘ * ’ symbol for multiply, and the ‘ / ’ symbol for divide.
and then click
Step 4 Put over a common denominator
Click (common denominator).
Step 5 Simplify
Click (simplify) until a single answer is obtained.