The difference is the term used to describe the result of a subtraction problem, specifically, the result of subtracting the subtrahend from the minuend. Refer to the figure below.

The difference can be thought of as the distance between the numbers being subtracted. To make this clearer, we can use a number line.

The figure above shows two ways we can use a number line to subtract. Above the number line, the lengths of each segment, 7 and 4, are shown. The difference between the two is shown by the dotted red line, and is equal to 3. Another way we can use the number line is to count downwards starting from the minuend, which is 7. We are subtracting 4, so we count 4 spaces left, and arrive at 3, the same result.

A difference generally answers the questions: "How many more or fewer are there?" and "How much more or less is there?"


Martin wanted to buy a book on soccer. He found it for $19.95 at a local bookstore. When he checked online he saw that he could get the book for $14.50. How much less did the book cost online?

19.95 - 14.50 = 5.45

Thus, the book cost $5.45 less online.