How to Divide Fractions

We have already discussed addition and multiplication of fractions and what we have left are subtraction and division. In this post, we learn how to divide fractions.

To divide fractions, we must get the reciprocal of the divisor. This is just the same as swapping the numerator and the denominator. For example, the reciprocal of \frac{2}{3} is \frac{3}{2}. After getting the reciprocal, just multiply the fractions.

Example 1

\displaystyle \frac{3}{5} \div \frac{2}{3} 


First, we get the reciprocal of \frac{2}{3}, the divisor. This is \frac{3}{2}. Then, we multiply the fractions.

\displaystyle \frac{3}{5} \times \frac{3}{2} = \frac{9}{10}

Answer: \frac{9}{10}

Example 2

\displaystyle \frac{5}{6} \div \frac{10}{7}


First, we get the reciprocal of \frac{10}{7} which is \frac{7}{10}. Multiplying the fractions, we have

\displaystyle \frac{5}{6} \times \frac{7}{10} = \frac{35}{60}

We reduce the answer to lowest terms by dividing both the numerator and denominator by 5 resulting to \frac{7}{12}.

Answer: \frac{7}{12}

Example 3

\displaystyle 5 \frac{3}{4} \div \frac{4}{5}


In dividing fractions, the dividend and the divisor must not be mixed fractions. Therefore, we need to convert the mixed fraction to improper fraction. To do this, we multiply 4 by 5 and then add 3. The result becomes the numerator of the mixed fraction. So, the the equivalent of 5 \frac{3}{4} is \frac{23}{4}.

Multiplying the fractions, we have

\displaystyle \frac{23}{4} \times \frac{5}{4} = \frac{115}{16}

We can convert the improper fraction to mixed form which is equal to

\displaystyle 7\frac{3}{16}

Answer: 7 \frac{3}{16}

Example 4

\frac{7}{8} \div 4.


If the divisor is a whole number, the reciprocal will be 1 “over” that number. In the given, the reciprocal of 4 is \frac{1}{4}. After getting the reciprocal of the divisor, we multiply the two fractions:

\displaystyle \frac{7}{8} \times \frac{1}{4} = \frac{7}{32}.

Answer: \frac{7}{32}

To test your understanding of division of fractions, you can answer this Practice Test and read the Answer Key with solutions after.

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