If the number being subtracted (minuend) or the number being subtracted from (subtrahend) doesn't have enough decimal places, add ".0" to make it easier. (Why can we put in extra zeros?)

For example,

12 is the same as 12.0 4.7 is the same as 4.70 8.06 is the same as 8.060, but not 8.6

This helps to align the decimal points when subtracting.

Steps to Subtract Decimals

Align the Decimal Points: Write the numbers one under the other so that their decimal pointsline up. (This is equivalent to aligning the numbers by place value.)

Fill in Empty Spaces with Zeros: If the numbers have different decimal lengths, fill the shorter number with zeros to the right of the last decimal digit. (Why can we put in extra zeros?)

Subtract from Right to Left:Start subtracting from the rightmost digit (just like whole numbers). If a column can't be subtracted, borrow from the column to the left.

Place the Decimal Point in the Answer: The decimal point in the answer should be directly below the other decimal points.

Remember to borrow if a column cannot be subtracted.

Practice regularly to get comfortable with subtracting decimals.

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