 What is 2/3 - 2/12? Here's how to subtract 2/12 from 2/3:

 2 3
 2 12

Step 1

We can't subtract two fractions with different denominators. So you need to get a common denominator. To do this, you'll multiply the denominators times each other... but the numerators have to change, too. They get multiplied by the other term's denominator.

So we multiply 2 by 12, and get 24.

Then we multiply 2 by 3, and get 6.

Next we give both terms new denominators -- 3 × 12 = 36.

So now our fractions look like this:

 24 36
 6 36

Step 2

Since our denominators match, we can subtract the numerators.

24 − 6 = 18

 18 36

Step 3

Last of all, we need to simplify the fraction, if possible. Can it be reduced to a simpler fraction?

To find out, we try dividing it by 2...

Are both the numerator and the denominator evenly divisible by 2? Yes! So we reduce it:

 18 36
÷ 2 =
 9 18

Let's try dividing by 2 again...

Nope! So now we try the next greatest prime number, 3...

Are both the numerator and the denominator evenly divisible by 3? Yes! So we reduce it:

 9 18
÷ 3 =
 3 6

Let's try dividing by 3 again...

Are both the numerator and the denominator evenly divisible by 3? Yes! So we reduce it:

 3 6
÷ 3 =
 1 2

Let's try dividing by 3 again...

No good. 3 is larger than 1. So we're done reducing.

There you have it! The final answer is:
 2 3
 2 12
=
 1 2