Multiplicative Comparison - Definition with Examples

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What is Multiplicative Comparison?

Multiplicative comparison means comparing two things or sets that need multiplication..

For example, Sam has twice as many balloons as Sid has. 

multiplicative comparison 1

Sid as 3 balloons

multiplicative comparison 2

Sam has twice as many balloons as Sid has.

So, number of balloons with Sam = 2 × 3 = 6

Problems for multiplicative comparison are generally word problems and can be solved forming an equation.

A multiplicative comparison problem can be defined as a problem in which:

  1. Two verbal statements are used to compare two set of items, and 

  2. It determines a multiplication equation.

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

Example of a multiplicative comparison problem using the equation:

A building is 18 feet tall and the building is three times Jerry’s height. How tall is Jerry?

Let Jerry’s height be “h”

Height of the building = 18 ft which is 3 times Jerry’s height, that is, 3 times h

Therefore, 18 = 3 × h

Dividing both sides by 3, we get:

18 ÷ 3 = 3 × h ÷ 3

6 = h

h = 6 ft

Hence Jerry is 6 ft tall.

Multiplicative comparison problems usually use phrases like:

  • Times as many (3 times as many candies)
  • Times more (5 times more apples)
  • Times as much (7 times as much as the blue ribbon)
  • Times as large (10 times as large as a brick)


Here’s an example of how a multiplicative comparison word problem can be solved using comparison bar models.

Example of multiplicative comparison with bar model

  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.

  • Any two factors and their product can be read as a comparison.

  • In a multiplicative comparison problem, one quantity will always be smaller or larger than the other quantity.

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