How Do You Add Fractions?

How many times have you asked the question, "How do you add fractions?"

I've found that this question is asked a lot! Fractions is one of the hardest concepts in math for students to fully understand.

This lesson will lead you through adding fractions with common denominators. Once this concept is mastered, then you will be able to move onto adding fractions with unlike denominators.

Let's get started....

How Do You Add Fractions with Common Denominators?

We're going to start with adding fractions with common denominators.

These are the easiest type of fractions to add. Why? In order to add fractions, the denominators must be the same.

The term "common denominators" means that the denominators are the same.

Let's take a look at Example 1.

Example 1 - Horizontal Method of Adding Fractions

Adding fractions with common denominators.

So, what did we do in Example 1 to add fractions? Yes, since the denominators were the same, all we needed to do was add the numerators.

Our answer to this problem (5/6) was in simplest form; however, do not forget to simplify your answer if possible.

There are two methods that are widely used when adding and subtracting fractions. The horizontal method was used in Example 1 and I will use the vertical method for Example 2.

Example 2 - Vertical Method of Adding Fractions

Adding fractions with common denominators vertically

Now you've seen the horizontal and vertical methods for adding fractions.

Yes, adding fractions with common denominators is pretty easy. Just add the numerators and keep the denominator the same!

Adding Fractions with Common Denominators

To add fractions with a common denominator, write the sum of the numerators over the denominator.

Can You End Up With an Improper Fraction?

YES! You may in fact add two proper fractions and end up with an improper fraction as your answer.

In this case, you may leave your answer as an improper fraction or you may rewrite it as a mixed number. Take a look!

Adding two fractions with the same denominator

One last question... (and answer!)

Can You Add Improper Fractions the Same Way?

An improper fraction is a fraction where the numerator is larger than the denominator. This indicates that the fraction represents a number larger than 1.

To answer the question, YES,  we add improper fractions exactly the same way.

Let's take a look!

Adding improper fractions with common denominators

Not too hard, right? Adding fractions with the same denominator is pretty easy.

Just remember, that as long as the denominators are the same, you can add the numerators. If the denominators aren't the same, then you will need to do a little work before adding the numerators.

The best thing is that you'll also find that subtracting fractions works exactly the same way!

I hope that you no longer need to ask, "How do you add fractions?" You are ready to rock on with the other fraction lessons. Check them out below!

  1. Home
  2. >
  3. Fractions
  4. >
  5. Adding Fractions


We would love to hear what you have to say about this page!