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Subtracting decimals: 39.1 - 0.794

Learn to subtract decimals by aligning the decimal points and place values. Regroup numbers for easier subtraction, and then perform the subtraction for each place value. Mastering decimal subtraction helps build strong math skills and real-world problem-solving abilities. Created by Sal Khan.

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Video transcript

Let's try to calculate 39.1 minus 0.794, and so pause the video and try this on your own. All right, I'm assuming you've given a go at it, so now let's work through it together. So I'm going to rewrite this. It's 39.1 minus-- I'm going to line up the decimals so that I have the right place values below the right place values-- minus-- this 0 is in the ones place, so I'll put it in the ones place-- 0.794. And now we're ready to subtract. Now, how do we subtract 4 from nothingness here, and 9 from nothingness here? Well, the same thing as nothing is a 0. And so now we can start to think about how to subtract. Well, we still have the problem. Well, we're trying to subtract 4 from 0, so we're trying to subtract 9 from 0. So what we could do is take this one tenth and try to regroup it into the hundredths place and the thousandths place. So let's think about this. If we make this-- actually that's not actually going to solve our problem. Well we could do it, but then we're going to have zero tenths, and we're still going to have a problem here. So actually let me go to the ones place. So let me get rid of a ones, so that's eight ones, which is going to be 10 tenths. So that's going to now-- we're going to have 11 tenths. The 10 tenths from here plus 1 is 11 tenths. Now let's take one of those tenths so that we have 10 tenths, and give it to the hundredths. So that's going to be 10 hundredths. And now let's take one of those hundredths-- so now we have nine hundredths-- and give it to the thousandths. So that's going to be 10 thousandths. Now we're ready to subtract. So 10-- let me do this in yellow-- 10 minus 4 is 6. 9 minus 9 is 0. 10 minus 7 is 3. We have our decimal point. 8 minus 0 is 8. And then we have 3 minus nothing is 3. So we're done, 38.306.