# Subtracting Fractions – Definition With Examples

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## What Does “Subtracting Fractions” Mean?

Subtracting fractions is finding the difference between the two or more fractions with the same or different denominators.

Subtracting like fractions (fractions with same denominators) is a simple and straightforward process, but in order to subtract unlike fractions (fractions with different denominators), we first need to make the denominators the same.

Fraction subtraction is a very important math skill that we constantly use in day-to-day life. Let’s consider some real-life scenarios to understand the significance of subtracting fractions.

Example 1: Subtracting like fractions

Your daily exercise goal includes running $\frac{3}{4}$ miles. If you have already run $\frac{1}{4}$ miles in the morning, you need still need to run $\frac{3}{4} – \frac{1}{4}$ miles to complete your goal.

Example 2: Subtracting unlike fractions

Suppose you need to add $\frac{3}{4}$ cups of water in a curry. You already added half a cup of water. Now, to determine how much more water you need to add in the curry, you need to subtract $\frac{1}{2}$ from $\frac{3}{4}$.

## How to Subtract Fractions

When subtracting fractions, we come across following cases:

• Subtracting Fractions with Like Denominators
• Subtracting Fractions with Unlike Denominators
• Subtracting Mixed Fractions
• Subtracting Fractions with Whole Numbers

The process of subtracting fractions in each of these cases is somewhat similar, except for the few steps depending on the type of fractions.

## Subtracting Fractions with Same Denominators

Fractions with the same denominator are called “like fractions.”

To subtract like fractions, follow these steps:

Step 1: Subtract the numerators.

Step 2: Keep the denominator as it is.

Step 3: Reduce the fraction to the simplest form, if necessary.

Example 1: Let’s solve the previous example.

## Frequently Asked Questions about Subtracting Fractions

While subtracting two or more fractions, the denominator must be the same otherwise we can not subtract the fractions with unlike denominators.

The denominator represents the total number of “equal parts” the whole is divided into. To define a fraction, the whole must be divided into equal number of parts. So, in order to define the resulting fraction after subtraction, we must have equal divisions of the whole. So, the denominators of two fractions must be the same.

If you subtract a larger fraction from a smaller fraction, the difference will be negative.