## How to Subtract Fractions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Subtracting fractions is a fundamental mathematical operation that is often used in everyday life. Whether you’re calculating recipe ingredients or determining the amount of fabric needed for a sewing project, understanding how to subtract fractions is an important skill to have. In this article, we’ll cover the steps to subtract fractions and provide some examples to help you master this skill.

## Step-by-Step Guide to Subtracting Fractions

The process of subtracting fractions involves finding a common denominator and then subtracting the numerators. Here are the steps to subtract fractions:

## Step 1: Find a Common Denominator

The first step in subtracting fractions is to find a common denominator. A common denominator is a number that both denominators can divide into evenly. To find a common denominator, you can multiply the two denominators together.

For example, let’s say you want to subtract 1/3 from 1/4. The denominators are 3 and 4, so you can find a common denominator by multiplying 3 and 4 together to get 12.

## Step 2: Convert the Fractions

Once you have a common denominator, you need to convert the fractions so that they have the same denominator. To do this, you can multiply the numerator and denominator of each fraction by the same number.

For example, to convert 1/3 to a fraction with a denominator of 12, you would multiply both the numerator and denominator by 4 to get 4/12. To convert 1/4 to a fraction with a denominator of 12, you would multiply both the numerator and denominator by 3 to get 3/12.

## Step 3: Subtract the Numerators

Now that you have two fractions with the same denominator, you can subtract the numerators. Simply subtract the numerator of the second fraction from the numerator of the first fraction.

For example, to subtract 1/3 from 1/4, you would subtract the numerator of 1/3 (which is 4) from the numerator of 1/4 (which is 3) to get -1/12.

## Step 4: Simplify the Fraction

If the resulting fraction is an improper fraction, simplify it to a mixed number or a reduced fraction. To simplify a fraction, you need to find the greatest common factor (GCF) of the numerator and denominator and then divide both by the GCF.

For example, if you have the fraction -1/12, you can simplify it by finding the GCF of 1 and 12, which is 1. Divide both the numerator and denominator by 1 to get the simplified fraction of -1/12.

## Examples of Subtracting Fractions

Let’s take a look at some examples of subtracting fractions to help illustrate the process:

Example 1: 1/3 – 1/4 Step 1: Find a common denominator: 3 x 4 = 12 Step 2: Convert the fractions: 4/12 – 3/12 Step 3: Subtract the numerators: 1/12 Step 4: Simplify the fraction: 1/12

Example 2: 5/6 – 2/9 Step 1: Find a common denominator: 6 x 9 = 54 Step 2: Convert the fractions: 45/54 – 12/54 Step 3: Subtract the numerators: 33/54 Step 4: Simplify the fraction: 11/18

Example 3: 3/4 – 1/2 Step 1: Find a common denominator: 4 x 2 = 8 Step 2: Convert the fractions: 6/8 – 4/8 Step 3: Subtract the numerators: 2/8 Step 4: Simplify the fraction: 1/4.