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Subtraction Word Problems

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Words like ‘difference’, ‘less’, ‘take away’, ‘loss’ usually means that subtraction is involved.

For subtraction, take note which number has to be subtracted from which number. Subtracting in the wrong order will give you the wrong answer.


Andy has 53 marbles. Sam has 105 marbles and lost 8 when his bag of marbles dropped. Find the difference between the number of marbles that Sam has left and Andy’s.


[Sam has 105 marbles] – [8 lost] – [Andy has 53 marbles]

105 – 8 – 53 = 44 marbles

Examples of subtraction word problems
1. John has 12 apples, and he gives away 5 of them. How many apples does he have left?
2. What is the difference between 17 and 38?
3. Jennifer has eighteen apples, and Mike has twelve. How many more apples does Jennifer have than Mike?

Subtraction Word Problem
A farmer grows 531 tomatoes and is able to sell 176 of them in three days. Given that his supply of tomatoes decreases by 176, how many tomatoes does he have remaining at the end of the three days?

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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