ADDING AND SUBTRACTING FRACTIONS

Fractions have lots of different names, and renaming is often needed to add or subtract fractions.

Here's how you'd add [beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle\,\frac{1}{2}\,$ and [beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle\,\frac{1}{3}\,$:

[beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle \frac12 + \frac13 \ \ =\ \ \frac12\cdot\frac33 + \frac13\cdot \frac22 \ \ =\ \ \frac36 + \frac26 \ \ =\ \ \frac56 $

Notice that [beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\,\frac{3}{6}\,$ is just another name for $\,\frac{1}{2}\,$, and $\,\frac{2}{6}\,$ is just another name for $\,\frac{1}{3}\,$.
However, these are the names that are needed for addition!

The next few paragraphs discuss the ideas in this example.

ADDING FRACTIONS WITH A COMMON DENOMINATOR

When fractions have the same denominator (called a common denominator),
then it's easy to add them:

For all real numbers [beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\,a\,$ and $\,b\,$, and for $\,c\ne 0\,$: [beautiful math coming... please be patient] $$\frac{a}{c} + \frac{b}{c} = \frac{a+b}{c}$$ That is, to add two fractions with the same denominator,
just add the numerators, and keep the denominator the same.

When fractions to be added don't have a common denominator,
you need to find one, and then rewrite the fractions with this common denominator.

In general, you'll want to use the least common multiple of the individual denominators as the new denominator.
This is called the least common denominator.

Subtraction works the same way, because subtraction is just a special kind of addition.

EXAMPLES:
[beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle \frac13 + \frac25 \ \ =\ \ \frac13\cdot\frac55 + \frac25\cdot \frac33 \ \ =\ \ \frac5{15} + \frac{6}{15} \ \ =\ \ \frac{11}{15} $

Note that the least common multiple of $\,3\,$ and $\,5\,$ is $\,15\,$.
[beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle \frac16 + \frac12 \ \ =\ \ \frac16 + \frac12\cdot \frac33 \ \ =\ \ \frac1{6} + \frac{3}{6} \ \ =\ \ \frac{4}{6} \ \ =\ \ \frac{2}{3} $

Note that the least common multiple of $\,6\,$ and $\,2\,$ is $\,6\,$.
You may input your answer in either form, simplified or not.
[beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle \frac13 - \frac25 \ \ =\ \ \frac13\cdot\frac55 - \frac25\cdot \frac33 \ \ =\ \ \frac5{15} - \frac{6}{15} \ \ =\ \ -\frac{1}{15} $

To subtract two fractions with the same denominator,
just subtract the numerators, and keep the denominator the same:

[beautiful math coming... please be patient] $\displaystyle \frac{a}{c} - \frac{b}{c} \ \ =\ \ \frac{a}{c} + \left(-\frac{b}{c}\right) \ \ =\ \ \frac{a}{c} + \left(\frac{-b}{c}\right) \ \ =\ \ \frac{a + (-b)}{c} \ \ =\ \ \frac{a - b}{c} $
Master the ideas from this section
by practicing the exercise at the bottom of this page.

When you're done practicing, move on to:
Adding and Subtracting Simple Fractions with Variables

 
 

Use the least common denominator.
You must input your answer as a diagonal fraction (like “2/5”), since you can't input horizontal fractions.
You'll probably want to use paper-and-pencil to solve each problem; key in your answer when you're done.

Add/Subtract: