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Column Subtraction: Getting Started

These examples will help you get used to doing column subtraction. You will use what you learned in Basic Subtraction.

Here's an example:

 
7
6
-
3
1

   
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box

We go from Right to Left. We first see the 6, which is above the 1.  6 - 1 = 5. Our equation is now:

 
7
6
-
3
1

   
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box

Again, we go from Right to Left and see the 7, which is above the 3.  7 - 3 = 4. Our equation is now:

 
7
6
-
3
1

   
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box

So, the answer is 45.

Here's another example:

 
8
6
7
-
3
2
1

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box

We go from Right to Left. We first see the 7, which is above the 1.  7 - 1 = 6. Our equation is now:

 
8
6
7
-
3
2
1

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box

Again we go from Right To Left and see the 6, which is above the 2.  6 - 2 = 4. Our equation is now:

 
8
6
7
-
3
2
1

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box

Yet again we go from Right to Left and see the 8, which is above the 3.  8 - 3 = 5. Our equation is now:

 
8
6
7
-
3
2
1

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box

So, the answer is 546.

Here's one more example. This example uses four columns:

 
9
0
3
8
-
7
0
1
4

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box   White Box

We go from Right To Left. We first see the 8, which is above the 4.  8 - 4 = 4. Our equation is now:

 
9
0
3
8
-
7
0
1
4

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box   White Box

Again we go from Right to Left and see the 3, which is above the 1.  3 - 1 = 2. Our equation is now:

 
9
0
3
8
-
7
0
1
4

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box   White Box

Yet again we go from Right to Left and see the 0, which is above another 0.  0 - 0 = 0. Our equation is now:

 
9
0
3
8
-
7
0
1
4

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box   White Box

One last time we go from Right to Left and see the 9, which is above the 7.  9 - 7 = 2. Our equation is now:

 
9
0
3
8
-
7
0
1
4

   
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box   White Box   White Box

So, the answer is 2024.

If you get a zero for the leftmost column then you don't have to write a zero in that column:

 
8
5
-
8
2

   
 
  
 
  
   White Box   White Box

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