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# Adding and subtracting unlike denominators

Wiki User

2014-08-22 09:53:00

Fractions can only be added or subtracted if the denominators are the same.

If the denominators are different, then the fractions need to be made into equivalent fractions with the same denominator.

The new denominator can be found simply by multiplying the denominators together, but this can lead to some large fractions with which to work. A better new denominator is the lowest common multiple of (all the) denominators.

(Once the new denominator is found, the fractions' new numerators are found by multiplying their current numerator by the new denominator divided by their current denominator to make their equivalent fractions with the new denominator.)

Once all the fractions are converted into equivalent fractions with the new denominator then the fractions can be added or subtracted, with the result being simplified (if possible).

Wiki User

2014-08-22 09:53:00
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