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What is a common denominator?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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7y ago

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Sometimes fractions have different denominators. These are called unlike fractions. When adding or subtracting fractions with unlike denominators, it is necessary to find a common denominator to get the correct answer. This is the same process as finding the least common multiple.

Example 1/30 + 1/42

Factor them.

2 x 3 x 5 = 30

2 x 3 x 7 = 42

Combine the factors, eliminating duplicates.

2 x 3 x 5 x 7 = 210, the lowest common denominator.

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