Q:

How do you simplify fractions?

A:

Quick Answer

To simplify a fraction, divide both the top number, the numerator, and the bottom number, the denominator, by the greatest common factor. Simplifying a fraction is reducing it to its lowest form.

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Full Answer

  1. Find the greatest common factor

    Make a list of the factors of the numerator. A factor is a number that is able to be divided into another number. Make a separate list of the factors of the denominator. Find the highest common number between the two lists. This is the greatest common factor. For example, in the fraction 6/18, the numerator's factors would be: 1, 2, 3 and 6. The denominator's factors would be 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 18. The highest common number between the two lists is 6. This is the greatest common factor.

  2. Divide the numerator by the greatest common factor

    Divide the numerator by the greatest common factor found in the lists. In this example, 6 divided by 6 is 1.

  3. Divide the denominator by the greatest common factor

    Divide denominator by the greatest common factor found in the lists. Dividing by the same number keeps the value of the fraction the same. In this example, 18 divided by 6 is 3.

  4. Re-write the fraction

    Use the new values of the numerator and the denominator and re-write the fraction. In this example, the fraction is reduced from 6/18 to 1/3.

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