Subtraction sentence

A subtraction sentence is a number sentence. More precisely, it is a type of equation that is limited to the operation of subtraction. It is made up of at least three terms: a minuend, subtrahend, and difference.

The minuend is the number that the subtrahend is subtracted from, which results in the solution to a subtraction problem, the difference. An operation symbol and an equality symbol are the other two components that need to be present to form an equation. Equations are used throughout all areas of mathematics, and subtraction sentences are just equations that specifically involve subtraction. Getting comfortable with the concept of equations early can help build a good foundation for learning more complex topics such as algebra.

Practicing subtraction with subtraction sentences

Subtraction sentences can be used for learning or practicing subtraction. One way to do this is by simply finding the difference to complete a subtraction sentence. Similarly, completing subtraction with missing parts, such as a missing minuend or subtrahend, can help solidify a student's grasp of the concept of subtraction, as well relate it to addition.


Find the difference:

12 - 7 = ?

12 - 7 = 5

Missing minuend:

? - 7 = 5

12 - 7 = 5

Missing subtrahend:

12 - ? = 5

12 - 7 = 5

Subtraction sentences can also be rearranged to demonstrate the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.


Rearrange the following subtraction sentences to form an addition sentence.

1. 12 - 7 = 5:

12 = 5 + 7

2. 22 - 13 = 9:

13 + 9 = 22

3. 12 - 0 = 12:

12 + 0 = 12

As the additive inverse, subtracting 0 from any value will result in that same value, so subtraction exhibits the identity property, just like addition. It is worth noting that unlike addition, subtraction does not exhibit the commutative or associative property. The order in which subtraction occurs and the way numbers are grouped affects the outcome of a subtraction problem.