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### Subtracting Decimals

```
Date: 09/16/97 at 08:59:29
From: Emileigh Merce
Subject: Subtraction

I can't figure out what 1100000 - 1100000 - 700000 - 123456789 - 14 =
because I don't know how to do decimals. I've tried a calculator, but
```

```
Date: 11/10/97 at 12:17:45
From: Doctor Sonya
Subject: Re: Subtraction

Dear Emileigh,

but there aren't any decimals in the numbers you wrote down. I'll tell
you how I subtract decimals, and maybe that will help some.

The first thing to remember is that subtracting decimals is almost the
same as subtracting whole numbers (numbers without decimals). If you
are going to subtract one number from another, you set it up like
this, right?:

427350
- 3447
------
423903

If you're going to subtract a decimal from another decimal, you set it
up the same way, but you put the decimal points right above each
other, like this:

10.67
-4.33
-----
?

Then you put the decimal point in the same place in the answer, and
continue to subtract as if it's not there.  Here's my example:

First I put the decimal point in:

10.67
-4.33
-----
.

Now I do the subtraction:
10.67
-4.33
-----
6.34

If the two decimal parts of the numbers are not the same length, just
fill in the shorter one with zeros.

45.89
-23.5774
--------
?

becomes
45.8900
-23.5774
--------
?

and then you do the subtraction the way we did above.
45.8900
-23.5774
--------
22.3036

Here's one more example for you to do yourself:

20.567
-17.43386
---------
?

I hope this helps.  Write us back if you ever have any more questions.

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

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