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### Course: Arithmetic > Unit 18

Lesson 10: Adding & subtracting negative fractions# Adding and subtracting fractions with negatives

Use the properties of addition to strategically add and subtract fractions with negatives and unlike denominators. We can rewrite the subtraction as adding the opposite so that the addition properties will apply. Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

- I don’t get this, help!(3 votes)
- Basically, we're trying to find out 3/7 - (-7/3)- 11/3

Something minus a negative is basically an addition problem. Ex. 2 - (-2) = 2+2=4.

He changed the minus negative to a plus.

3/7 + 7/3 - 11/3

He then turned it into this.

3/7 + 7+-11/3. The denominator will stay the same.

He then evaluated the problem.

Now we have 3/7 + -4/3

He then found the LCM, 21.

?/21 + ?/21

He evaluated the problem again.

9/21 + -28/21

Therefore,

3/7 - (-7/3)- 11/3 = -19/21

Hope this helped! Have a great rest of your day!(26 votes)

- 2024 new year same me!!(10 votes)
- I am in 6 th grade and I am trying out for AGS 2 next year

Wish me Luck!(3 votes) - I get that 3/7 - (-7/3) equals 3/7 + 7/3 but why does he still put parantheses.(3 votes)
- --a is harder to read, hence the parenthesis - (-a)(1 vote)

- this doesnt make sense at all. how did he get 21?

im so confused(1 vote)- 21 is the common denominator of 3 and 7,(2 votes)

- I understand the positive*positive thing but why are we making all the signs vice versa what is the use(0 votes)
- Multiplying different signs make negative and same signs make positive. Unless you multiply with 0 then you'll end up with nothing(4 votes)

- ඞඞඞ i don't understand this(1 vote)
- When, you add, let's say something positive and negative like:

9+(-28), it's the same thing as subtracting 9-28. If you wish to do the math like standard without thinking about a number line you can do it like this:

09

- 28

-------

And, you subtract the digits out normally, there are two methods: positive 9 ones - 8 ones gives you a POSITIVE 1 one.

0 tens - 2 tens gives you -2 tens. So, what number forms when you have (-2) tens and 1 POSITIVE one, -19 ones! Because (-2) tens is equal to -20 ones. (-20 ones) + 1 one = -19 ones.

Another way to think about it is, regroup the 2 tens and 8 ones you are subtracting into 1 ten and 18 ones. You then subtract the units (0 tens - 1 tens) and (9 ones) - (18 ones):

09 ------> 0 ones + 9 ones

-28 -----> - (1 ten) +18 ones

---- ------

(-1 tens) + (-9 ones)

(-1 tens) = (-10 ones)+(-9 ones) = (-19) ones.

We add the negative digits together because we're looking for the total amount of ones we have.(1 vote) - wait why did he switch -11/3 to +11/3 couldnt he have solved it with minus sign.

Can someone help(1 vote) - I can do the common denominators and all, but I just have trouble figuring whether the fraction will be positive or you subtract or add the numerators. How does that work, exactly?(1 vote)

## Video transcript

- [Instructor] Let's say we wanted to figure out what 3/7 minus
negative 7/3 minus 11/3 is. Pause this video and see
if you can have a go at it before we do it together. All right? Now let's
work on this together. And you might be tempted to deal with the negative 7/3 and the 11/3 first because they already have
a common denominator. But you have to realize that subtraction, you can't use the associative property. It's not the this, for example which is what you would typically do first is not the same thing
as this right over here. So you have to be very,
very, very careful. But what we could do is
rewrite this, instead of saying, minus something,
minus something else we could rewrite it in terms of addition. What do I mean by that? Well, if I have 3/7, I'll start with that. Subtracting something is the same thing as adding that something's opposite. So subtracting negative
7/3 is the same thing as adding the opposite of negative 7/3 which is just positive 7/3. And subtracting 11/3 is the same thing as adding the opposite of
11/3 which is negative 11/3. Now addition, you can use
the associative property, you could add these two first or you could add these two first. And I like adding these two first because they have the same denominator. So if I have 7/3 plus negative 11/3, what is that going to get me? Well, we have a common denominator. We could rewrite it like this. 3/7 plus common denominator of 3. We could write 7 plus
negative 11 in the numerator. And so 7 plus negative 11 is
the same thing as 7 minus 11. Because subtracting
something's the same thing as adding its opposite. So if we're adding negative 11, same thing as subtracting 11. So 7 plus negative 11, you might, we could get a number line out, but hopefully you've
gotten some practice now. That is going to be negative 4. That is negative 4. And so now we have 3/7 plus negative 4/3. And so now we definitely need
to find a common denominator. So let me rewrite this. This is equal to 3/7
plus, lemme write this, plus negative 4. Actually yeah, this is
fine plus negative 4/3. Or I could write this as even
negative 4/3, either way. But if we wanna have a common denominator, it looks like 21 is going to be the least common
multiple of 7 and 3. So let's rewrite each of these as something over 21, 3/7. To go from 7 to 21, you multiply by 3. So 3 times 3 is 9. And then to go from 3
to 21, we multiply by 7. So if we have negative 4 times 7, that is negative 28. And so this is going to be equal to 9 plus negative 28/21, which is, this is the same thing as 9 minus 28/21, 'cause subtracting a
number is the same thing as adding its opposite. And so this gets us, let's
see if 9 minus 9 is 0 and then we're gonna have
19 more to go below 0. So this is negative 19/21 or we could write that as negative 19/21. And we are done.