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Introduction to Decimals

A Decimal Number is a number that contains a Decimal Point:

Decimal


Our Decimal System lets us write numbers as large or as small as we want, using the decimal point. Numbers can be placed to the left or right of a decimal point, to indicate values greater than one or less than one.

The number to the left of the decimal point is a whole number.

The first digit on the right means tenths (1/10)

As we move further right, every number place gets 10 times smaller (one tenth as big)

As we move left, every number place gets 10 times bigger .

Definition of Decimal

The word "Decimal" means "based on 10" (From Latin decima: a tenth part), and we sometimes say "decimal" when we mean anything to do with our numbering system, but a "Decimal Number" usually means there is a Decimal Point.

Ways to think about at Decimal Numbers

You could think of a decimal number as a whole number plus tenths, hundredths, etc:

Example 1: What is 2.3 ?

  • On the left side is "2", that is the whole number part.
  • The 3 is in the "tenths" position, meaning "3 tenths", or 3/10
  • So, 2.3 is "2 and 3 tenths"

Example 2: What is 13.76 ?

  • On the left side is "13", that is the whole number part.
  • There are two digits on the left side, the 7 is in the "tenths" position, and the 6 is the "hundredths" position
  • So, 13.76 is "13 and 7 tenths and 6 hundredths"


Or, you could think of a decimal number as a whole number plus a Decimal Fraction, in which case we would say that 13.76 was:

13

 and 

Division7

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