Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheet

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Printable “Add/Subtract Fractions” worksheets:
Add Like Fractions
Add Unlike Fractions
Subtract Like Fractions
Subtract Unlike Fractions
Subtract Fraction from Whole Number
Add/Subtract Fraction Word Problems

How to subtract unlike fractions?

Free printable and online worksheets to help Grade 5 students practice subtracting unlike fractions or fractions with unlike denominators. The fractions given are fractions with different denominators.

There are two printable worksheets. The first will not require simplification. The second will have differences that may require simplification.

There are some worksheets and fraction word problems for online practice followed by a shortcut method for subtracting fractions quickly.

To subtract unlike fractions, you can follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a common denominator - the least common multiple (LCM) of the denominators of the fractions. This is the smallest number that both denominators can divide into evenly.
Step 2: Convert the fractions to equivalent fractions with the common denominator. To do this, multiply the numerator and denominator of each fraction by the necessary factor to make the denominator match the common denominator found in step 1.
Step 3: Subtract the numerators of the equivalent fractions obtained in step 2. The denominators remain the same.
Step 4: Simplify the resulting fraction, if possible, by finding the greatest common divisor (GCD) of the numerator and denominator, and dividing both by the GCD.

Here’s an example to illustrate the steps:

Example: Subtract 1/4 from 3/7

Step 1: Find a common denominator:
The multiples of 4 are: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, …
The multiples of 7 are: 7, 14, 21, 28, …
The least common multiple (LCM) of 4 and 7 is 28. So, the common denominator is 28.
Step 2: Convert the fractions to equivalent fractions with the common denominator:
1/4 becomes 7/28 (multiplied numerator and denominator by 7)
3/7 becomes 12/28 (multiplied numerator and denominator by 4)
Step 3: Subtract the numerators of the equivalent fractions:
12/28 - 7/28 + = 5/28
Step 4: Simplify the resulting fraction:
The fraction 5/28 is already simplified, as 5 and 28 do not share any common factors other than 1.
So, the difference of 3/7 and 1/4 is 5/28.

Another example:
subtract unlike fractions

Have a look at this video if you need to review how to subtract fractions.

Click on the following worksheet to get a printable pdf document.
Scroll down the page for more Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheets.

Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheet

More Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheets

(Answers on the second page.)
Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheet #1
Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheet #2
Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheet #3
Subtract Unlike Fractions Worksheet #4

Add like fractions, no reducing
Subtract like fractions, no reducing
Add/Subtract like fractions, reducing

Least Common Denominator
Add/Subtract unlike denominators, guided
Add/Subtract unlike denominators

Subtract a Fraction from a Whole Number

Subtract Unlike Fractions Word Problems

  1. Mia had 3/4 of a cup of sugar in her pantry. She used 1/3 of a cup of sugar to make cookies. How much sugar does she have left?
  2. John had 5/8 of a tank of gas in his car. He drove 1/4 of the tank to work and back. How much gas is left in the tank?
  3. Paul ate of a 1/6 candy bar. Nellie ate 3/4 of it. How much more of the candy bar did Nellie eat than Sandy?

Shortcut to Subtracting Fractions

There is a shortcut to subtract unlike fractions.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Identify the unlike fractions you want to subtract. For example, let’s subtract 1/3 from 2/5.
Step 2: Multiply the numerator of the first fraction by the denominator of the second fraction, and vice versa.

2/5 - 1/3 [(2 × 3) - (1 × 5) + ] / (3 × 5)

Step 3: Subtract the results from step 2 in the numerator, and write the common denominator as the denominator.

(6 - 5) / 15

Step 4: Simplify the fraction, if necessary.


So, the difference of 2/5 and 1/3 is 1/15. This shortcut can be useful when when you want to quickly calculate the difference of unlike fractions.

Have a look at this video if you need to review how to subtract fractions the shortcut.

Lesson on Subtracting Fractions

More Printable Worksheets

Try the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice various math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.
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