Common Denominators

We can use these proportions to compare two ratios with different denominators by finding a denominator that their proportions have in common. Thus the common denominator of 2/3 and 3/4 is 12. We then can use the common denominator to add/subtract and divide common ratios (fractions). This approach to division is quite different from the traditional approach and does not rely on the mechanical process of inverting the divisor and multiplying which most students find difficult to understand. Using common denominators means that to divide two fractions we simply divide the numerators of their common denominators, because when we divide common denominators they =1 since both have the same value.