If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Finding common denominators

Learn all about finding common denominators in fractions. Watch how to use the least common multiple of the denominators to rewrite fractions, making them easier to compare or add. Created by Sal Khan and Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

Want to join the conversation?

  • blobby green style avatar for user Kendra Meese
    How do I find LCM with 3 fractions
    (302 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • blobby green style avatar for user Elizabeth Flores
      Its quite simple you find out what the three numbers are, lets say the numbers are: 2,3,4.
      then you wright the numbers they all have in common.
      2: 2,4,6,8,10,12
      3: 3,6,9,12
      4: 4,8,12
      Then circle or look to find witch they all have In common. If you look hard they all have or are equal to the number 12. I hope my answer helped you answer your question :)
      (178 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Noah Johnson
    What if one of the denominators is a 1?
    (53 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user taarika t.
      If the denominator is a 1, then it's still the same formula: you simply divide the denominator by the numerator (ex: 4/1 = 4 divided by 1 = 4). It works no matter what the numerator or denominators are, even if the denominator isn't a 1 (ex: 7/3 = 7 divided by 3 = 2 1/3). With 4/1, it's easy to know that it will be 4, but with bigger numbers (ex: 282/47), it can be a lot harder to mentally figure out what your answer will be, so the dividing trick can help a lot in those scenarios. I know this answer is really late -- four years late; sorry -- but I hope either you see this, Noah, or somebody else who needed help sees this and gets the help that they need. :)
      (24 votes)
  • duskpin sapling style avatar for user Mohammad
    How do I find the LCD of two rational equations? If there is a video for this can you point me to it?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • aqualine tree style avatar for user Dragon Fire
    how is 2/8 the same as 6/24 and 5/6 the same as 20/24
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • starky tree style avatar for user 404Ac3N0tF0und
      Well, 2/8 is equivalent to 6/24 because the ratio is the same. The ratio is 1/4, and any same-numerator-denominator pair that's multiplied with it just changes the numerator and denominator. The hard-boiled value of the fraction is the same: 1/4.

      It's a little hard to visualize, but here:
      1/4 times 2/2 is what? 2/8.
      2/8 times 3/3 is what? 6/24.
      6/24 times 4/4 is what? 24/96.
      24/96 divided by 24/24? 1/4!

      So long as you continue to multiply the fraction by ONLY same-numerator-denominator fractions the ratio and value will stay the same, and thus the fractions will equal each other.

      Tip: This means that you can simplify larger fractions down using a numerator-denominator to its smallest form. Keep in mind, though, that it helps to find the common factor(preferably greatest) of both the numerator and denominator before creating your same-numerator-denominator pair.

      For example: 100/120 + 43 (Don't mind the +43, this is solely to simplify the fraction 100/240)

      100 and 120 are both divisible by these numbers: 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, and 20. To simplify the fraction, you just need to divide the fraction by a same-numerator-denominator pair like this:
      100/120 / 20/20 = 5/24
      Thus, the "true" and simplified value of 100/240 is 5/24.

      I know this was really winded, but I hope it helps. Let me know if you need help on anything else!
      (2 votes)
  • aqualine seed style avatar for user nicolelikesaot
    I have a question. How do you find the least common denominator by using the prime factorization method?
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • mr pink green style avatar for user David Severin
      Maybe an example would answer your question. There are three denominators, 6, 8, and 9 and you want the least common denominator. 6=3*2, 8=2*2*2, and 9=3*3. Start with any of the numbers, 3*2. If the next has any in common, eliminate it, so one 2 is eliminated giving 3*2*2*2. The next has one 3 in common, so eliminate one 3, final LCM is 3*2*2*2*3. Try 10, 18, and 24. 10=5*2, 18=3*3*2, 24=3*2*2*2. So you start with 5*2, one two in common with 18, so eliminate it to get 5*2*3*3, last (24) has both a 3 and 2 in common now that you can eliminate, so 5*2*3*3*2*2=360. Hope this makes sense.
      (3 votes)
  • duskpin sapling style avatar for user Mal
    Can someone explane this to me pls?
    (20 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • hopper happy style avatar for user jonibeks5
    is LCM n LCD are same?
    (17 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • blobby blue style avatar for user jointdoc99
    What's a common denominator?
    (14 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Sky Bardov
      A common denominator is a denominator that you can reach by both denominators. For example in the problem 3/4+ 5/6 a common denominator is 12 because it is the lowest number that both 4 and 6 can reach by multiplying with whole numbers. Thanks for reading hope it helps!
      (14 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Cleo Marie Nopal
    How to know if you are finding the common denominators with some choices like; 3/4+1/3

    A.3/4+1/3 = 9/12+4/12

    B.3/4+1/3=9/12+3/12

    C.3/4+1/3=12/12+4/12

    D.3/4+1/3=3/12+1/12
    (9 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user konjac_the.frog
      The key is to remember that if you multiply the denominator by a value, you also have to multiply the numerator by that same value. In this example, it's clear the common denominator is 12. For the first fraction, to get 12 in the denominator, you have to multiply top and bottom by 3, which gives you 9/12, so this limits your answer choices to A and B. For the second fraction, you have to multiply by 4 on the top and bottom to get 12 in the denominator, so we end up with 4/12. This means our answer is A!
      (14 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user 😊
    find the the lcd of 1/5, 1/4 and 1/9?
    (17 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

We're asked to rewrite the following two fractions as fractions with a least common denominator. So a least common denominator for two fractions is really just going to be the least common multiple of both of these denominators over here. And the value of doing that is then if you can make these a common denominator, then you can add the two fractions. And we'll see that in other videos. But first of all, let's just find the least common multiple. Let me write it out because sometimes LCD could meet other things. So least common denominator of these two things is going to be the same thing as the least common multiple of the two denominators over here. The least common multiple of 8 and 6. And a couple of ways to think about least common multiple-- you literally could just take the multiples of 8 and 6 and see what they're smallest common multiple is. So let's do it that way first. So multiples of six are 6, 12, 18, 24 30. And I could keep going if we don't find any common multiples out of this group here with any of the multiples in eight. And the multiples of eight are 8, 16, 24, and it looks like we're done. And we could keep going obviously-- 32, so on and so forth. But I found a common multiple and this is their smallest common multiple. They have other common multiples-- 48 and 72, and we could keep adding more and more multiple. But this is their smallest common multiple, their least common multiple. So it is 24. Another way that you could have found at least common multiple is you could have taken the prime factorization of six and you say, hey, that's 2, and 3. So the least common multiple has to have at least 1, 2, and 1, 3 in its prime factorization in order for it to be divisible by 6. And you could have said, what's the prime factorization of 8? It is 2 times 4 and 4 is 2 times 2. So in order to be divisible by 8, you have to have at least three 2's in the prime factorization. So to be divisible by 6, you have to have a 2 times a 3. And then to be divisible by 8, you have to have at least three 2's. You have to have two times itself three times I should say. Well, we have one 2 and let's throw in a couple more. So then you have another 2 and then another 2. So this part right over here makes it divisible by 8. And this part right over here makes it divisible by 6. If I take 2 times 2 times 2 times 3, that does give me 24. So our least common multiple of 8 and 6, which is also the least common denominator of these two fractions is going to be 24. So what we want to do is rewrite each of these fractions with 24 as the denominator. So I'll start with 2 over 8. And I want to write that as something over 24. Well, to get the denominator be 24, we have to multiply it by 3. 8 times 3 is 24. And so if we don't want to change the value of the fraction, we have to multiply the numerator and denominator by the same thing. So let's multiply the numerator by 3 as well. 2 times 3 is 6. So 2/8 is the exact same thing as 6/24. To see that a little bit clearer, you say, look, if I have 2/8, and if I multiply this times 3 over 3, that gives me 6/24. And this are the same fraction because 3 over 3 is really just 1. It's one whole. So 2/8 is 6/24 let's do the same thing with 5/6. So 5 over 6 is equal to something over 24. Let me do that in a different color. I'll do it in blue. Something over 24. To get the denominator from 6 to 24, we have to multiply it by 4. So if we don't want to change the value of 5/6, we have to multiply the numerator and denominator by the same thing. So let's multiply the numerator times 4. 5 times 4 is 20. 5/6 is the same thing as 20/24. So we're done. We've written 2/8 as 6/24 and we've written 5/6 as 20/24. If we wanted to add them now, we could literally just add 6/24 to 20/24. And I'll leave you there because they didn't ask us to actually do that.