# Fraction, Common

## Fraction, Common (Encyclopedia of Science)

A fraction is a mathematical expression that states the ratio between two numbers. The adjective common in the term common fraction means that both numbers involved are integers, or whole numbers. The common fraction ¾ can be thought of as the whole number 3 being compared to the whole number 4 in some way or another. A common fraction is generally written with the two numbers separated by a diagonal or horizontal line, as ¾. The number above the line is the numerator of the fraction, and the number below the line, the denominator of the fraction. The diagonal or horizontal line separating the numerator and denominator is mathematically equivalent to the division sign (÷) or the ratio sign (:).

Meanings of fractions

The fraction "3 compared to 4," or ¾, can be interpreted in many ways. At a beginning level, one can imagine a whole objectuch as a pieivided into four parts. The common fraction ¾, in this instance, refers to 3 parts out of 4. The 4 in the fraction "¾, of a pie" refers to the total number of parts into which the pie is divided. The 3 refers to the number of pieces being considered. Thus, ¾ means 3 of the 4 pieces cut from one whole pie.

Another way of interpreting fractions is to think of the denominator as a number of whole parts and the numerators as some selection of those parts. In this case, ¾ could refer to a set of 4...

(The entire section is 486 words.)