How Can You Fluently Add Subtract, Multiply and Divide Decimals


You’ve most likely come across decimals in everyday life. From banking and shopping to cooking and sports, decimals are virtually everywhere. However, if you’ve struggled to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals fluently, you’re in the right place!

What are decimals, and why are they essential in everyday life?

To truly understand the importance of decimals, first, you need to know what they are. Decimals are numbers that contain a decimal point, which separates the whole number and the fractional parts. Decimals are critical because they provide precision that whole numbers can’t deliver. It is essential in finance, engineering, and medicine, where accuracy matters.

Adding and Subtracting Decimals

Step One: Align the decimal points: While adding or subtracting decimals, it’s imperative to line up the decimal points. This action will help you maintain accuracy throughout your calculations.

Step Two: Perform the addition or subtraction as usual. Add or subtract once your decimal points are aligned, like whole numbers. If one of the numbers has more digits after the decimal point, you can add zeros to balance both sides.

Multiplication and Division of Decimals:

Multiplication of Decimals:

  1. When multiplying decimals, don’t worry about the decimal points during the multiplication process.
  2. Multiply them as if they are whole numbers.
  3. Once you have your product, count the total number of numbers after the decimal point in the original problem and place the final decimal point in your product accordingly.

Division of Decimals: During division, the key is to remove the decimal from the divisor (the number you’re dividing by) by shifting it to the right until it becomes a whole number. Remember, you must shift the decimal point in the dividend (the number you’re dividing) to the same number of places to retain the equation’s balance.

These tips make mastering adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals much easier. Practice is how you build fluency in math, just like in any other skill. Happy calculating!

Adding Decimals

As you delve further into numeric operations, you’ll frequently encounter decimals. Adding decimals can seem challenging, but trust us, it’s a breeze once you get the hang of it.

Basic steps for adding decimals

Step 1. Line Up the Decimals: The first step is aligning the decimal points. They should be directly beneath the other. This orderliness is crucial for the addition process.

Step 2. Addition: Start the operation from right to left, just like when adding whole numbers. If the digits’ sum happens to be 10 or more, carry that value to the next left column.

Step 3. Place the Decimal: Place your decimal point correctly after the entire process. It should be directly beneath the other decimal points.

Example problems: addition of decimals

Let’s take a few examples:

If you want to add 7.21 and 4.3, first line up the decimals:


  • 4.3

Then add a zero to the end of 4.3 to have an equal number of numbers after the decimal point:


+ 4.30

Then add:


+ 4.30


Or, let’s consider the addition of three decimals: 1.2, 3.45, and 6.78. Line them up:


Then, like before, add zeros:


Add the three numbers together:



That’s all there is to it! Adding decimals isn’t as scary as it seems. With practice, you’ll find it’s just as simple as adding whole numbers. Keep practicing, and soon, you’ll master this skill.

Subtracting Decimals

Subtracting decimals follows similar steps to adding, with steps one and three being the same: line up the decimals and ensure you place your resultant decimal correctly.

The subtraction takes place from right to left. If you need to borrow, remember that you’re borrowing ‘1’, which is actually ’10’ in that specific column due to the place value system.

Ultimately, you’ll find that subtracting decimals is as simple as subtracting whole numbers once you finish lining up the decimals.

Dealing with decimals and carrying out arithmetic operations on them can seem intimidating, especially when subtraction comes into play. But don’t fret! Subtracting decimals can be as simple as subtracting whole numbers once you get the hang of it.

Basic steps for subtracting decimals

When dealing with this process, the critical point is that you must line up the decimal points and the columns of numbers. Ensuring your decimals are in the right place is vital because moving them a little could dramatically change the figure’s value. It’s a gentle task, but the following steps will help guide you:

  1. Write down the numbers, aligning the decimal points.
  2. If the numbers have a different amount of decimal places, fill the spaces with zeroes until they’re even.
  3. Subtract as if they were whole numbers.
  4. Place the decimal point in your answer directly below the other decimal points.

Example problems: subtraction of decimals

Consider the following subtraction example: Assume you’re subtracting 2.6 from 4.95. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Write down the numbers: align the decimal points.
  2. 4.95
  • 2.6
  1. To even out the decimals, add a zero to the number with fewer decimal places:
  2. 4.95
  • 2.60
  1. Subtraction proceeds as if they were whole numbers. Start at the rightmost (tenths) column: 5 – 0 = 5. Then, move on to the next column (units): 9 – 6 = 3.
  2. 4.95
  • 2.60
  1. 2.35
  2. The decimal point in the answer should line up with the decimal points in the initial numbers – giving you the answer of 2.35.

Once you practice and master these steps, you’ll find that subtracting decimals comes naturally. Keep practicing, stay patient with yourself, and you’ll tackle decimal subtraction problems quickly and confidently before you know it.

Multiplying Decimals

When multiplying decimals, you might feel a bit daunted. The decimal points can be a source of confusion, and without a guide, you may find yourself a little lost. But don’t worry; following the proper steps can quickly become a task you tackle.

Essential Steps for Multiplying Decimals

Just like with whole numbers, multiplying decimals involves carefully following simple steps.

Step 1: Start by ignoring the decimal points and multiply the numbers as if they were whole numbers.

Step 2: Count the total number of digits after the decimal points in the original problem.

Step 3: Place the decimal point in your answer so that there are the same number of digits to the right of the decimal point as you counted in Step 2.

Step 4: And there you have your answer!

It’s a productive strategy because the essence of every multiplication operation is the same, irrespective of whether it involves decimals or whole numbers.

Example Problems: Multiplication of Decimals

Now, it’s time to apply this understanding to some practical examples.

Example 1: Suppose you are dealing with 2.5 (two decimal places) x 3.4 (three decimal places). First, multiply them as whole numbers (25 x 34 = 850). After this, you’ll count two digits backward from the right of your answer, set the decimal point, and have your answer — 8.50.

Example 2: For another example, consider 0.6 (one decimal place) x 0.7 (one decimal place). Multiply as whole numbers (6 x 7 = 42). Count two digits backward from the end (since the total decimal places in the problem are two), place the decimal point, and voila! Your answer is 0.42.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Please continue to practice multiplying different decimal numbers; before you know it, you can do it fluently. Stay patient with yourself, go at your own pace, and keep practicing. Mastering decimal multiplication is within reach!

Dividing Decimals

You may feel just as many do when dividing decimals crops up. It can be a daunting task! But, with the proper steps and guidance, you’ll get the hang of it in a split second!

Basic steps for dividing decimals

The heart of the matter lies in understanding the critical steps in dividing decimals. Let’s walk through them one step at a time:

Step 1: Ensure the divisor is a whole number. If it’s not, you must move the decimal point in the divisor to the right until it becomes whole. Move the decimal point in the dividend (the number being divided into) to the same number of places.

Step 2: Divide as you would whole numbers. Now that your divisor is a whole number, you can proceed! Use your standard division methods like you would divide with whole numbers.

Step 3: Determine the decimal point placement: Remember to reposition the decimal point when you’re done with division. Do this by placing the decimal directly above the one in the dividend.

Example problems: division of decimals

Problem: Can you divide 1.5 by 0.5?


Step 1: Move the decimal point in both numbers to the right until the divisor becomes a whole number. Your problem now reads 15 ÷ 5.

Step 2: Divide as you would whole numbers. So, 15 ÷ 5 = 3.

Step 3: You are done since your result has no decimal. The quotient is 3.

Working on your division with decimals through real examples is the best way of gaining mastery. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, keep working on different problems independently until you feel confident.

There you have it! Using these steps in dividing decimals will help you enhance your mathematical prowess. Enjoy practicing!


Well, Congratulations! You’ve made it through understanding the critical details of mastering decimal operations. Knowing how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals fluently is a crucial skill that broadens your mathematical prowess and opens up vast computation possibilities in your everyday life.

From calculations involving money, measurements, and other real-world contexts, the ability to manipulate decimals fluently ensures you’re always on top of things. It enriches your numerical literacy, making you a master in your daily number manipulations. It’s not just about knowing the procedure but being able to implement it seamlessly, both in academic and everyday contexts.

Summary of the key points covered in the blog post and the importance of fluently performing decimal operations.

Understand the basics: Before diving into the operations, understand the decimals concept. Remember, a decimal is a fraction whose denominator is 10 or a power of 10.

Adding and subtracting decimals: Line up the decimal points and add or subtract as you would with whole numbers. Easy.

Multiplication of decimals: Multiply them as if they were whole numbers. Then, count the number of decimal places in the original numbers and place the decimal point in the product so it has the correct number of decimal places.

Division of decimals:

  1. If the divisor isn’t a whole number, shift the decimal right to make it one.
  2. Ensure you move the decimal to the same number of places in the dividend, too.
  3. Proceed with long division as usual.

Your journey to a refined understanding of decimal operations is fantastic, but remember that gaining proficiency with decimals necessitates practice and more practice.