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Many people naturally 'get' standard numbers, and how to sum, subtract, multiply and divide them. When presented with fractions however, they seem a little intimidating or confusing to people.

But, in fact, all fractions are is DIVISIONS. So these are equivalent:
4 divided by 2

So whenever you see a fraction, just read it as the top bit divided by the bottom, and the mystery and intimidating part of fractions instantly goes! 1/2 whilst read as 'a half' just means 'one divided by two', and nothing more or less mysterious than that.

Armed with this knowledge it enables us to manipulate fractions with ease and understand what we are doing and how they work.

Adding Fractions

1/2 + 1/2 = ?

The answer is 1: all you do when you have a common bottom part of the fraction (here 2) is add the bits on top. If you want to ever check an addition fraction sum, just type it in the calculator like this: 1 divided by 2. Then add that result to itself - you get 0.5 + 0.5 = 1.

Subtracting Fractions

3/4 - 1/4 = ?

Again, we have a common bottom part of the fraction, so we simply do 3 - 1 to get 2 for the top part, with 4 on the bottom, which gives 2 / 4 which is the same as 1 / 2 so the answer is 1 / 2, as a decimal that's 0.5 - fraction sums are easy when you know how!

Multiplying Fractions

1/2 x 1/2 = ?

Multiplying fractions often confuse people quite a bit, but actually they are really easy to do! All you need to do is multiply the top parts by each other and the bottom parts by each other. So on the top we do 1 x 1 = 1. On the bottom we do 2 x 2 = 4. So we have 1 on top and 4 on the bottom - so we have the answer which is 1/4.

People get confused because they think they should get a bigger answer not a smaller one when multiplying fractions, but in fact it gets smaller. Let's imagine we have half an apple. If we then eat half of the half of the apple then we have a quarter of an apple, so the sum is right!

Dividing Fractions

People find this one the trickiest of the lot, but all we need to do is learn to FLIP REVERSE it. Example:

1/2 divided by 1/2

We simply FLIP REVERSE the second part of the equation and change the sign from divide to multiply, so we get this:

1/2 x 2/1. Hey, that's easy! 2/1 is just '2', so we have the sum being: 1/2 x 2 which is one - we all know that two halves make one whole. So whenever you see division fractions just remember to FLIP REVERSE IT and CHANGE THE SIGN to multiply from divide.

And that's it - simple fraction sums mastered!
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