How to Add or Subtract Negative Mixed Numbers

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Just because mixed numbers are negative doesn't make them any more difficult to add and subtract. Learn how to add and subtract negative mixed numbers with help from a mathematics educator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Negative Numbers & Other Math Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang and we're to talk about how to add or subtract negative mixed numbers. Now, adding negative mixed numbers are, is actually more straightforward than subtracting, so let's talk about that first. So, when you're adding negative mixed numbers, let's just say -3/5 (-1 2/5), the idea here is that when you're adding two negative numbers, you're making the number even more negative than what you were doing before. So, what you can do is the same conventional approach by looking at the negative whole numbers first; so, -3 and -1 is going to be -4 and then, 1/5 and 2/5 is going to be 3/5. So, when you're sub, adding two negative numbers together, as long as you make sure they have the same denominator, you should be good to go. Now, when you're subtracting, subtracting negative mixed numbers, you, you want to be sure that you want to, it might be a good idea to convert them to improper fractions because you never know what you might run into. So, for example, if you have -3 2/5 -( -1 3/4), you know you're not making the number more negative anymore because when you're subtracting by negative number, you're really adding. So, you're subtracting still but you have to change the signs going forward. So, first thing I recommend is convert this to an improper fraction, so this would be 5 X 3 is 15, plus 2 is -17, over 5, plus 4 X 1 is 4, plus 3 is 7. So, negative 17/5 plus 7/4 and what you want to do is find its least common denominator here. And so, least common denominator looks like to be 20. So, 5 X 4 is going to be 20. So, you're multiplying the top and bottom by 4, that's going to be -68 and then, 4 X 5 is going to be 20. So, you multiply the top and bottom by 5, so you have -68/20 35/20 you're going to get a grand total of -33/20. And then you can reduce it to a mix number from there if you like. And this will be -1 13/20. So, as you can tell, subtracting negative mixed numbers will take a little more time than adding negative mixed numbers. So, I'm Jimmy Chang and that's how to add and subtract negative mixed numbers.


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