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PSAT Prep: Help and Review18 chapters | 194 lessons

Instructor:
*Jennifer Beddoe*

Numerator is the term used to describe the top part of a fraction. In this lesson, you will learn more about what the numerator represents and a bit about its history. Then, take a quiz to test your knowledge.

A **fraction** is used to describe a portion of something, like 1/4 of a cake or 1/2 of a pie. Each number of the fraction has a name. The number above the line is the **numerator**, and the number below the line is the **denominator**.

The numerator represents a number of equal parts, and the denominator is how many of those equal parts make up a whole. In the cake example above, the numerator '1' shows that we are talking about one portion of cake. The denominator '4' means that the whole cake is made up of four equal portions.

'Numerator' is a Latin word that means 'number.' This is because it represents the number of parts. 'Denominator' is also Latin and means 'namer.' It is the portion of the fraction that names or defines the whole. These words were first used to describe fractions by 13th century mathematicians.

There are three different types of fractions, and they all have numerators.

**Proper fractions**: These fractions are written in the proper form - the numerator is smaller than the denominator, and they cannot be simplified any further.**Improper fractions**: An improper fraction is one in which the numerator is greater than the denominator.**Mixed fraction**: A mixed fraction is a whole number and proper fraction combined. It describes a situation in which you have at least one of something and also a part of another one. For example, 'the soccer team ate 3 1/2 pizzas at their party.'

As mentioned before, the numerator describes how many portions you have of something. That 'something' can be anything that can be divided into equal parts. (You probably will never say, 'I have 1/2 a puppy'; however, having 1/2 of a candy bar is perfectly acceptable.)

Fractions are visually helpful ways to describe many things, such as ratios and percents. A statement such as, 'The ratio of girls to boys in ballet class is 3:1' is probably easier understood when said as a fraction, as in, 'The ballet class contains 3/4 girls.' This just means that if you divide the class into four equal groups, three of them will be girls and one will be made up of boys.

Instead of saying, 'That shirt is on sale for 33% off the original price,' it might be easier to say, 'That shirt is on sale for 1/3 off the original price.'

Fractions are very helpful for describing portions and parts, and none of that could be done without the numerator. Many people complain that they have trouble remembering which part of the fraction is the numerator. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to remember it other than memorization. One concept that might help is that 'denominator' and 'down' both begin with the letter 'd', so you can remember that the denominator is the number on the bottom of the fraction, which by default makes the numerator the top number.

The numerator is the top part of a fraction. It describes the number of portions, while the denominator tells how many portions make up the whole. It is useful in helping to describe ratios and percents and is an essential part of all fractions.

The following objectives may be achieved after reviewing this lesson on the numerator:

- Contrast the numerator and denominator
- Recount the origins of the terms 'numerator' and 'denominator'
- List the three types of fractions
- Specify the applications of the numerator
- Recognize the usefulness of fractions in everyday life

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Lesson
19 in chapter 11 of the course:

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PSAT Prep: Help and Review18 chapters | 194 lessons

- What are the Different Types of Numbers? 6:56
- How to Find the Greatest Common Factor 4:56
- How to Find the Prime Factorization of a Number 5:36
- How to Find the Least Common Multiple 5:37
- How to Find and Classify an Arithmetic Sequence 9:09
- What is a Mathematical Sequence? 5:37
- Mathematical Sets: Elements, Intersections & Unions 3:02
- Critical Thinking and Logic in Mathematics 4:27
- How to Calculate a Permutation 6:58
- What is an Absolute Value? 4:42
- How to Calculate an Arithmetic Series 5:45
- What are Irrational Numbers? - Definition & Examples 6:36
- What is Subtraction in Math? - Definition, Methods & Examples 7:02
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- How to Write a Numerical Expression? - Definition & Examples 3:24
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- Inverse Property: Definition & Examples 3:05
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- Numerator: Definition & Concept
- Go to PSAT Math - Numbers and Operations: Help and Review

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