The numerator is the name of one of the two terms of a common fraction. The other term is called the denominator. The numerator is the "counting" number. It represents the number of parts of a whole, where the whole is represented by the denominator. The figure below shows the various parts of a fraction.

The fraction above means that the "whole" in whatever is being counted is 12, and the numerator tells us that we have 1 of the 12 parts. One way to visualize this is to use an array of shapes.

The 1 purple square represents the numerator of the fraction. It is the 1 part of 12 in the fraction.

The numerator also has other meanings. For example, it is the first number of a ratio expressed as a common fraction. The fraction, 1/12, can be written in the form of a ratio as 1:12. The numerator will always be the first number of a fraction written in ratio form, with the denominator being the second.


Identify the numerator of the fraction based on the figure below and write the fraction.

The numerator is the number of purple squares, or 5, and the denominator is the total number of squares, or 8. The fraction is therefore: