What Is an Easy Explanation of Long Division?


Quick Answer

Long division is a method of dividing two numbers or polynomials by finding the digit of the quotient one at a time, working from highest place to lowest. Hence, it is not possible to calculate non-terminating quotients using this method, and remainders often result.

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What Is an Easy Explanation of Long Division?
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Full Answer

The general symbol for long division, as seen at MathIsFun.com, is an L rotated 90 degrees clockwise. The dividend, or number to be divided, fits inside this symbol while the divisor, or the number doing the dividing, falls just to the left of its short edge.

To do long division, start by dividing the first digit of the dividend by the divisor. If the quotient is zero, instead divide the first two digits, and so on until the quotient is at least one. Write that quotient above the last digit of the part of the dividend just utilized. Then multiply it by the divisor and subtract that amount from the dividend. Write the new dividend below, preserving all places, and bring down any unused digits in the remaining places.

Repeat this process until the quotient begins repeating or until it has the appropriate amount of decimal points. Make sure to keep all digits aligned in their proper places, as failing to do so can make the answer incorrect.

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