Divide Decimals

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How to Correctly Divide Decimals by Hand

If you can already do long division then you shouldn't have a problem dividing decimals. You just need to remember 2 methods depending upon whether you want to divide by a whole number or decimal.

Dividing a Decimal by a Whole Number

If you want to divide a decimal by a whole number e.g. 1.812 / 6 then follow this method:

1. Ignore the decimal points (for now) and do a regular long division.

For example, 1.812 / 6 becomes 1812 / 6. Let's work it out:

  ̲ ̲3̲0̲2
6|1812

2. Put the decimal point back to where it was originally (in the 1812) and then place one in the answer directly above it, making sure it lines up perfectly.

  ̲ ̲.̲3̲0̲2
6|1.812

Now you almost have your answer. Just make sure you always add and/or remove the necessary zeros e.g. .302 should be 0.302 and if 1.5000 was the answer it should be 1.5 (knocking any zeros off the end).

Dividing a Whole Number or Decimal by a Decimal

If you want to divide a whole number or decimal by a decimal e.g. 123 / 4.5 or 1.23 / 4.5 then follow this method:

1. Look at the number you are dividing by e.g. 4.5.

2. With that decimal, move its point to the right until that decimal becomes a whole number. e.g. 45

3. Remember how many places to the right the decimal point moved e.g. in this case it was 1.

4. Look at the other number (123 or 1.23) and move its decimal point to the right the same number of places you moved the other (1 in this case). For example: 123.0 would become 1230.0 and 1.23 would become 12.3.

5. Now follow the first method "Dividing a Decimal by a Whole Number" and you'll find your answer.

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