• The operation is called subtraction.
• The number to subtract from is called the minuend.
• The number being subtracted is called the subtrahend.
• The result of the operation is called the difference.
For example, in 8 − 5 = 3, the 8 is the minuend, the 5 is the subtrahend, and the 3 is the
Steps for subtracting whole numbers and decimals:
1. As with addition, line up the numbers, digit by digit, so that each place value is in the same column. The number you are subtracting from (Minuend) should be on top, and the number you are subtracting (Subtrahend), below that.
2. Start from the right most column.
3. If the digit on top is greater than or equal to the digit on the bottom, take away the digit on the bottom from the digit on the top and write the difference below the bottom digit in the same column.
4. If the digit on top is smaller than the digit on the bottom, exchange from the digit to the left on top, giving you an extra ten, enough to take away. To indicate the extra ten, write a small 1 just to the left of the top number’s digit. Then take away the bottom and write the difference below the bottom digit.
Example 1: 7, 458.39 − 5, 297.58
So, the difference of 7,458.39 and 5,297.58 is 2,160.81. Granted, with all of the markings for the exchanging, the process can get pretty messy.
• If your handwriting is messy already, try writing bigger.
• Everyone needs to be careful to keep the place value columns in line.
One nice advantage to subtraction, is that you can check your answer with addition. If your difference is correct, then the difference plus the subtrahend will equal the minuend. In our case, to check, we see that 2, 160.81 + 5, 297.58 = 7, 458.39