How to Convert Inches Into a Fraction

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When converting inches into fractions, it helps to remember that inches are closely related to feet. Convert 42 inches to 3 1/2 feet with help from a math teacher in this free video on basic math lessons.

Part of the Video Series: Math Lessons
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Video Transcript

So how does one convert inches into a fraction? Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang. I've been teaching college mathematics for nine years, and converting inches into a fraction is...can sound kind of difficult, but once you know what units you're converting to and the proper methods that's involved, then you're going to be good to go. Now, what you have to think about, though, is that inch...what units are inches related to? Now, inches are closely related to feet, but you can also use them to convert to yards when necessary. So here is an example. Suppose you want to convert 42 inches to feet. Now, the one conversion that you...relationship that you really want to keep in mind before we can do anything here is the relationship between inches and feet. Now, what's important then is that you need to know that 12 inches equals one foot. So as a result, keeping that in mind, you need to use what's called dimensional analysis -- in other words, with unit fractions -- to figure this out. So here we go. You're starting off with 42 inches, and you want to convert it to feet. Now, because you want to convert to feet, feet goes on top -- because you want to convert from inches, the inches would be at the bottom. Now, again, you plug in the numbers where they belong. So since it's 12 inches to one foot, 12 goes with the inches, one goes with the foot. Now, the inches will cancel, then you just literally multiply across. 42 times one is going to be 42 and then over 12. So 42 inches to feet is 42 over 12 feet, and you can reduce the fractions fairly easily. So I'll let you do that. Now, suppose you want to convert inches to yards, now the relationship that you need to know, though, before you do anything is that one yard is equal to 36 inches. Now, suppose you want to convert, let's just say, 44 inches to yards, same exact idea. Take 44 inches. Now, because you want to convert to yards, yards will go on top, inches would be at the bottom. Again, put the numbers where they belong. One yard -- one -- is 36 inches. 36 will be at the bottom. So as a result, the inches will cancel. You're left with yards. Just multiply across. 44 times one -- 44 -- over 36. Again, it looks like it's reducible, and I'll let you do that. So I'm Jimmy Chang, and that is how you convert inches into fractions.

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