Additive comparison - Definition with Examples

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What is Additive Comparison?

In an additive comparison, we find the relation between two amounts by asking or telling how much more (or less) is one compared to the other.

Problems for additive comparison are generally word problems, and they can be solved forming an equation.

An additive comparison problem is a problem in which:

  • Two verbal statements are used to compare two sets of items, and 

  • Further, an additive equation is determined.

  • The equation includes numbers and alphabet, in which the alphabet is the variable.


Example of an additive comparison problem using the equation is given.

Aaron takes 16 minutes to reach school from his home. Ryan takes 5 more minutes than Aaron and Sheryl takes 3 more minutes than Ryan. How much time does Sheryl take to reach school?

Let the time taken by Sheryl to reach school be ‘t’

Time taken by Aaron to reach school = 16 minutes

Time taken by Ryan is 5 minutes more than Aaron = 16 + 5 = 21 minutes

Time taken by Sheryl = t = 21 + 3 = 24 minutes

Therefore, Sheryl takes 24 minutes to reach school.


Additive comparison problems usually use words like:

  • More ( 3 more than 50 miles)

  • Less (5 less than 12 liters)

Here are examples of how an additive comparison word problems can be solved using comparison bar models.

Example 1: Kate has 7 stamps. Sara has 5 more. How many stamps does Sara have?

solve additive comparison word problems 1

Stamps with Kate = 7

Stamps with Sara = 7 + 5 = 12

Therefore, Sara has 12 stamps

Example 2: Jack scored 22 points in a game. Jim scored 6 less points than Jack. How many points did Jim score?

solve additive comparison word problems 2

Points scored by Jack = 22

Points scored by Jim = 6 less than Jack

                              = 22 – 6

                              = 16

Therefore, Jim scored 16 points.

  Fun Facts

  • Bar models help us to understand what operations, whether addition, subtraction, multiplication or/and division should be used to solve a word problem.

  • The other type of comparison problems are multiplicative comparison problems.

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