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Fraction Multiplication

Date: 7/22/96 at 11:2:34
From: tstorer
Subject: Fractional Multiplication

Dear Dr.Math,

I am having trouble solving this problem: 
"Write the simplest fractional numeral for each of the following:"

a)      -3   .   1            
        --      --  = ?              
         4       2 

I have several sums like this to do, and I don't understand the 
meaning of the dot between the two fractions. Can you help?

Erin Storer
Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia  

Date: 7/22/96 at 11:47:23
From: Doctor Paul
Subject: Fractional Multiplication

The dot means that you have to multiply the two numbers together.  

In higher math a dot is often used to replace the traditional 'x' as 
a symbol for multiplication because the variable x (a very common 
variable) and the symbol 'x' can get confusing when used in 
conjunction.  The '*' symbol can also represent multiplication.  
Now...on to your problem:

 -3       1
 --  .   -- = ?
  4       2

When multiplying fractions, just multiply across:

(-3 x 1)   -3
-------- = --
(4 x 2)     8

this is in lowest terms (it will not reduce) so that's your final 

-Doctor Paul,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!   
Associated Topics:
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Fractions

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