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 Help with adding fractions.
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Nadeshiko
New Member

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2013 :  00:00:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The problem is:
Esteban is 63 1/8 inches tall. Haley is 59 5/8 inches tall. How much taller is Esteban than Haley? Write in simplest form.

The work I done so far:
63 1/8 - 59 5/8
= 63 1/8 + (-59 5/8)
= 4 6/8
= 4 3/4

It's a multiple choice problem and the choices are:
A. 4 1/2 in.
B. 4 1/4 in.
C. 3 3/4 in.
D. 3 1/2 in.

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Ultraglide
Advanced Member

Canada
299 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2013 :  11:36:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You forgot that ALL of 59 5/8 is negative. Certainly 63-59 = 4, but 1/8 - 5/8 = -4/8 or - 1/2. This gives 4 + (-1/2) or 3 1/2.

The usual method when subtracting a larger fraction from a smaller fraction, is to borrow from the whole number of the first fraction, similarly to what is done when doing subtraction of integers.
Here's one way to do it, remembering that you are subtracting (or adding a negative 59 AND 5/8):
63 1/8 - 59 5/8 = 62 9/8 - 59 5/8
= 3 4/8
= 3 1/2
Note that the 1 you borrowed is equivalent to 8/8 which is chosen because the denominator is 8.
A further note, if the second fraction is still bigger than the first, just keep borrowing until it becomes smaller.
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