what are equivalent fraction ? explain with examples

The best way to think about equivalent fractions is that they are fractions that have the same overall value. Equivalent fractions represent the same part of a whole.  For example, if we cut a pie exactly down the middle, into two equally sized pieces, one piece is the same as one half of the pie.

And if another pie (the same size) is cut into 4 equal pieces, then two pieces of that pie represent the same amount of pie that 1/2 did. So we can say that 1/2 is equivalent (or equal) to 2/4.


Don’t be confused!

Take a look at the four circles above. Can you see that the one “1/2″, the two “1/4″ and the four “1/8″ take up the same amount of area colored in orange for their circle? Well that means that each area colored in orange is an equivalent fraction or equal amount. Therefore, we can say that 1/2 is equal to 2/4, and 1/2 is also equal to 4/8.

And yes grasshopper, 2/4 is an equivalent fraction for 4/8 too.

As you already know, we are nuts about rules. So, let’s look at the Rule to check to see if two fractions are equivalent or equal. The rule for equivalent fractions can be a little tough to explain, but hang in there, we will clear things up in just a bit.


Here’s the Rule…



What this Rule says is that two fractions are equivalent (equal) only if the product of the numerator (a) of the first fraction and the denominator (d) of the other fraction is equal to the product of the denominator (b) of the first fraction and the numerator (c) of the other fraction. A product simply means you multiply.

That sounds like a mouthful, so let’s try it with numbers…



Now let’s plug the numbers into the Rule for equivalent fractions to be sure you have it down “cold”.

3/4 is equivalent (equal) to 9/12 only if the product of the numerator (3) of the first fraction and the denominator (12) of the other fraction is equal to the product of the denominator (4) of the first fraction and the numerator (9) of the other fraction. So we know that 3/4 is equivalent to 9/12, because 3×12=36 and 4×9=36.

A simple way to look at how to check for equivalent fractions is to do what is called “cross-multiply”, which means multiple the numerator of one fraction by the denominator of the other fraction. Then do the same thing in reverse. Now compare the two answers to see if they are equal. If they are equal, then the two fractions are equivalent fractions.

The graphic below shows you how to cross multiply…



Okay, let’s do one with numbers where the fractions are not equivalent…



So you can see by this example, 1/2 is not an equivalent fraction of 2/3. If you remember to use the cross-multiply method, you should not have any problems verifying equivalent fractions.

The table below lists some common fractions and their equivalents. Just read the table from left-to-right. What it shows you are values multiplied by different variations of fractions equal to “1″. You do remember that any number divided by itself is equal to “1″ right? For example…

Fractions equivalent to 1/2 are 2/4, 3/6, 4/8, 5/10, 6/12, …

Fractions equivalent to 1/5 are 2/10, 3/15, 4/20, 5/25, …


Equivalent Fractions Table

As you can see, knowing about equivalent fractions shows you that all fractions are not equivalent fractions.

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Equivalent Fractions

Equivalent Fractions have the same value, even though they may look different.

These fractions are really the same:


Why are they the same? Because when you multiply or divide both the top and bottom by the same number, the fraction keeps it's value.

The rule to remember is:

"Change the bottom using multiply or divide,
And the same to the top must be applied"

So, here is why those fractions are really the same:

 × 2 × 2 
1 = 2 = 4
 × 2 × 2 
And visually it looks like this: 

1/2 2/4 4/8



See the Animation

See Fractions on the Number Line ... it shows you many equivalent fractions

We also have a Chart of Fractions with many examples of equivalent fractions.



Here are some more equivalent fractions, this time by dividing:

 ÷ 3 ÷ 6 
18 = 6 = 1
 ÷ 3 ÷ 6 

Choose the number you divide by carefully, so that the results (both top and bottom) stay whole numbers.

If we keep dividing until we can't go any further, then we have simplified the fraction (made it as simple as possible).



    • You can make equivalent fractions by multiplying or dividing both top and bottom by the same amount.
    • You only multiply or divide, never add or subtract, to get an equivalent fraction.
    • Only divide when the top and bottom would still be whole numbers.
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