How to Find the Reciprocal of a Whole Number

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Find the reciprocal of a whole number by placing the number over one and flipping the numerator and denominator to create the reciprocal fraction. Find out how zero is the only number that does not have a reciprocal with information from a math teacher in this free video math lesson.

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Video Transcript

How do you find the reciprocal of a whole number? Hi, I'm Jimmy, I've been teaching college math for 9 years and once you see the process you'll find that it's going to be a very straightforward process. Now when we hear the word reciprocal, we often think about flipping the fraction. Well how's a whole number a fraction? Well when you think about it, you can take just about any number and turn it into a fraction. So here's an example, suppose you have the number 4. Any whole number you can express as a fraction just take that number and put it over 1. Now the reciprocal means you flip the fraction. So basically since you have 4 over 1 just flip the numbers. The numerator is now the denominator and the denominator is now the numerator. So the reciprocal simply becomes one fourth. Now here's another quick example again. Suppose you have the number 10. The reciprocal of 10 put it over 1 first, turn any whole number over 1 and then the reciprocal just flip it so you have 1 over 10. Now the only number which does not work for whole numbers is the number 0 because if 0 is in the numerator, if you flip that the 0 becomes the denominator which as you and I both know dividing by 0 is undefined. So you can turn any whole number except 0 and find it's reciprocal. So I'm Jimmy and that is how you turn a whole number into reciprocals.


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