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Math K-Plus

Numbers - A Fraction Is Comprised Of A Numerator And A Denominator

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What Are A Fraction's Components?

A Fraction represents a part of a whole or, any number of equal parts. A simple fraction (example: 1/2) has two parts:
  • The Numerator of a fraction is the number above the slash: 1/2.
  • The Denominator of a fraction is the number below the slash: 1/2.

The numerator represents a number of equal parts, and the denominator, which cannot be zero, indicates how many of those parts make up the whole. Example, think of a pizza cut into eight slices (8 is the denominator) and five slices (5 is the numerator) have been eaten. So let's show these facts as fractions:
  • One whole pizza is represented as one or as the fraction 8/8. This means the pizza is cut into eight slices but none of the slices have been eaten so far.
  • Now five slices of the pizza with eight slices have been eaten. Shown as a fraction 5/8 or 5 of 8 slices have been eaten.
  • So how much of the pizza remains? Well, we started with eight slices and five have been eaten: 8/8 - 5/8 = 3/8. So 3 of 8 slices of pizza are left.

One very important fact about fractions: the denominator can never be zero! For example the fractions 1/0, -4/0, and 0/0 are all considered undefined i.e. they make no sense in mathematics.

Recommended reading: Proper Fractions and Improper Fractions.