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How to Subtract Fractions with Like Denominators

When two fractions share the same number in the denominator, it’s a common, or like, denominator. Subtracting these fractions is straightforward: just subtract numerators! The resulting fraction will always retain the original common denominator, so your focus is solely on the numbers above the line.

Subtracting Fractions With Common Denominators


You need to follow the steps from the list:

  1. Find the numerators as well as denominators.
  2. Subtract the numerators.
  3. Reduce or solve the fraction if needed.

Find the Numerators as Well as Denominators

For example, 12/26 – 4/26 – 1/26. In this example: 

  • The numerators are 12, 4, and 1. 
  • The common denominator is 26.

Subtract the Numerators

As with addition, you don’t have to worry about doing anything with the denominator, so find the difference between the numerators: 

  • 12 – 4 – 1 = 7
  • Write the fraction with a new numerator: 12/26 – 4/26 – 1/26 = 7/26.

Reduce or Solve the Fraction if Needed

Comparable to adding fractions, when you subtract fractions, you can still end up with: 

  • An improper fraction that can be modified to a mixed number 
  • A fraction that can be solved by division
  • A fraction that can be transformed into a simpler type by locating a common denominator

Want to know how to add fractions with unlike denominators? Continue Reading.

Practice adding and subtracting fractions with Fractions Worksheets grades 2-3

Solve real-life fractions word problems with Fractions, Time, and Logic Worksheets for grades 2-3

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