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### Subtracting Fractions

```
Date: 9/6/96 at 22:30:53
From: Anonymous
Subject: Visualization of Subtracting Fractions

How do I solve 3/4 - 1/2? I tried drawing a circle and marking off the
area, but that didn't work.
```

```
Date: 9/13/96 at 13:42:42
From: Doctor Mike
Subject: Re: Visualization of Subtracting Fractions

Hi,

Let me see if I understand your question. I assume that the circle
comes into it when you visualize fractions as slices of a pie.

Just working with the numbers you can get some benefit by seeing
that 1/2 is the same as 2/4 so the original problem can be rewritten
as 3/4 - 2/4.  With the denominators the same it is an easier problem.
By the same reasoning which tells you that 3 apples minus 2 apples
is 1 apple, you have 3 fourths minus 2 fourths is 1 fourth, or
3/4 - 2/4 = 1/4 .

When it comes to pie, if you start with 3/4 of a pie and remove half a
pie (= 2/4) then you have 1/4 left.  That is, you have a nice generous
piece left for me!  Yummmmmmmm.

I hope this helps.

-Doctor Mike,  The Math Forum
Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
```
Associated Topics:
Elementary Fractions

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