What Are Like Fractions? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Fraction Tune-Up
  • 1:02 What Are Like Fractions?
  • 1:40 Why Use Like Fractions?
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jasmine Cetrone

Jasmine has taught college Mathematics and Meteorology and has a master's degree in applied mathematics and atmospheric sciences.

In this lesson, we will refresh some of our fraction terminology. We will then describe what like fractions are, look at some examples, and explain why they're so useful!

Fraction Tune-Up

In this lesson, we'll be looking at like fractions, but just in case it's been a while since you've studied fractions, let's get some of the terminology straight so we all know what we're talking about before we dive into talking about like fractions.

A fraction represents parts of a whole, and is defined by two numbers, one on top of the fraction bar and one on the bottom. The bottom number is called the denominator and represents how many pieces a whole is split up into. The top number is the numerator and this tells us how many pieces of that whole we are working with.

For example, if John has a small pie that has been cut into eight slices, then eight slices represents the whole pie, so the number eight would be in the denominator. Now, let's say he has a sweet tooth and eat three of the slices. If we want to represent what fraction of the pie John ate, we know that he has eaten three of the eight pieces, so three would be the numerator. So for our example we would have:

3/8, 8 is the denominator, 3 is the numerator

What are Like Fractions?

Thankfully, recognizing like fractions is easy as pie! Like fractions are fractions that have the exact same denominator. That's it! We would be working with wholes that are split into the same number of pieces. It doesn't matter what the numerator is, so long as the denominators are the same.

So what this means is that if John have a pie and his sister has a pie, like fractions don't care how much of the pie we both eat so long as they're cut into the same number of pieces. The following figure represents two situations with pies and fractions that are like, and one situation where they are unlilke fractions (they have different denominators).

1/4 and 3/4 are like fractions, 3/8 and 7/8 are like fractions, 4/8 and 2/4 are unlike fractions

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