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Lesson 19 COMMON FRACTIONS




a decimal fraction, or simply a decimal.
terms of the fraction. We will see that they correspond to the terms of a ratio. 







of 1, as we will see presently. 



"onehalf" because of the ratio of 1 to 2. 1 is one half of 2. We write the name of the number hyphentated 
Answer. Because of the ratio of 3 to 4. 3 is three fourths of 4. This naming is true in English. Spanish is much more scrupulous in distinguishing the names of the fractions from the names of the ratios. This fraction , for example, is called un dozavo, while the ratio of 1 to 12 is la duodécima parte. A ratio is a relationship between numbers; numbers have ratios to one another. We will maintain that distinction by writing the name of the number, the fraction, hyphenated, but the ratio unhyphenated. This separation of number and ratio gives life to the question, Can "the ratio of two lengths" (whatever that means) always be named? Is there a number? For, numbers have names. 1, 9.6, , . If we merely postulate that corresponding to every ratio there always is a number, then we will miss one of the most intriguing and disturbing questions in mathematics. The interested student is referred to The Evolution of The Real Numbers. Example 4. Read these numbers:
Ratio to 1 A fraction is a number, and as any number, we know it relative to 1. What is our understanding of "2"? It is twice as much as 1. What is "3"? It is three times 1. Every number has a ratio to 1. It is according to that ratio that we know each number. What ratio, then, has ½ to 1? ½ is one half of 1. ½ has the same ratio to 1 as the numerator has to the denominator. 



This is the same ratio that 2 has to 3.
into three equal pieces. Notice that to cut that unit into thirds, we cut it only twice. "One third, two thirds." Since the numerator is to the denominator in the same ratio as two natural numbers, fractions are also called rational numbers. Example 6. This number ¼ is called "onequarter" or "onefourth," because the numerator is one quarter of the denominator  and ¼ itself is one quarter of 1. To place ¼ on the number line, we cut the line one less than the name of the part. To divide 1 into fourths, cut the line three times. Example 7. What number is at the arrow? Answer. The unit has been cut five times  into six equal pieces.
The proper fractions are the parts of 1. The fraction ½ is one half only of 1. But the ratio one half relates many numbers. "5 is one half of 10." "6 is one half of 12." And so on. To write "6 is ½ of 12," as unfortunately some do, is a vulgarism. 



The and in "2 and onethird" means plus.
into thirds. We cut the line twice. Problem. Answer with a mixed number or with a whole number and a remainder, whichever makes sense. a) How many basketball teams  5 on a team  can you make from 23 b) You are going on a trip of 23 miles, and you have gone a fifth of the Answers. 

 
We can recognize an improper fraction when the numerator is greater than or equal to the denominator.
improper fraction.
We will now see explicitly why we use the division bar to signify a fraction. 



"5 goes into 43 eight (8) times (40) with 3 left over." The student should not have to write the division box. (Lesson 12.)
"9 goes into 32 three (3) times (27) with remainder 5." The remainder is what we must add to 27 to get 32. (Lesson 10.)
"4 goes into 28 seven (7) times exactly." 



"5 times 2 is 10, plus 3 is 13; over 5."
"8 times 3 is 24, plus 5 is 29; over 8." To summarize: Fractions that are less than 1 are called proper fractions, while fractions greater than or equal to 1 are improper. Improper fractions are equivalent to mixed numbers or whole numbers. Please "turn" the page and do some Problems. or Continue on to the next Lesson. Introduction  Home  Table of Contents Please make a donation to keep TheMathPage online. Copyright © 20012007 Lawrence Spector Questions or comments? Email: themathpage@nyc.rr.com 