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To compare two fractions easily you need them to have the same denominator. For example suppose the fractions are 5/21 and 7/18. Find the prime factorization of 21 and 18
The smallest number that is a multiple of 21 and 18 is 3 × 7 × 2 × 3 = 126,
Thus 7/18 > 5/21.
I hope this helps,
If you are comparing positive fractions, the easiest thing to do is to "cross-multiply".
Here is an example: 10/17 ? 3/5 (replace the question mark with <, =, or > )
I multiply both sides of this equation by the denominators:
10/17 x 17 x 5 ? 3/5 x 17 x 5
Now I cancel on each side with the denominator:
10 x 5 ? 3 x 17
(you can skip straight to this step if you want - that's a shortcut). Now just multiply it out:
50 ? 51
Definitely the answer here is < (less than) because 50 < 51. That means the original question is also <.
10/17 < 3/5.
Try it with your numbers. It will be easiest if you first "simplify" each of your fractions, then you are working with smaller numbers. When you simplify first, you may find the answer is obvious to you!
Math Central is supported by the University of Regina and The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.