Proper Fractions: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 The Parts of a Fraction
  • 0:18 What Is a Proper Fraction?
  • 1:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joseph Vigil
In this lesson, we will discuss just what makes proper fractions proper. We will see how they compare to improper fractions, as well as look at several examples.

The Parts of a Fraction

There are two parts to fractions: the numerator and the denominator. The numerator is the number that sits at the top of a fraction, and the denominator is the number that sits at the bottom of a fraction. For example, in the fraction 1/2, 1 is the numerator and 2 is the denominator.

What is a Proper Fraction?

In a proper fraction, the numerator is smaller than the denominator. This holds true no matter how large both are. As long as the numerator is the smaller of the two, the fraction is a proper fraction. For example, 998/999 is a proper fraction. Even though the numbers are both large, and they're only separated by 1, the numerator is still smaller than the denominator.

Likewise, 1/999 is a proper fraction. Although there's a large difference between the numerator and denominator, the numerator is still smaller than the denominator.

However, 3/2 is an improper fraction because the numerator is not smaller than the denominator. They're considered improper because they're actually greater than one, so they can be rewritten as mixed numbers.

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