Understanding basic arithmetic like addition and subtraction can be made much easier for some when studied in the form of word problems. Math is abstract, after all, and it isn’t until you frame it within the context of real world scenarios that someone learning these formulas might begin to grasp their practical applications. In this guide, we’ll go over a few subtraction word problems to better cement this idea, and give those learning basic arithmetic a leg up in their studies.
Check out this course on the foundations of math and arithmetic for more of an introduction to the subject.
Subtraction Word Problems #1
- Farmer Wong has 10 eggs. He uses 5 to make breakfast. How many eggs does he have left?
- Jose brings 12 cans of soda to his friend’s birthday party. They drink 10. How many cans of soda are left over?
- Christine has 20 comic books on her shelf. She lets Brad borrow 3, and Ayumi borrow 5. How many comics does she have on her shelf now?
- Ayumi has 30 DVDs in his movie collection. She sells 7 movies in a garage sale. How many movies does she own now?
- Brad scored 98 points on her essay, but the teacher deducted 5 for turning it in late. What did Brad score on his essay?
- Terrell had 80 pages in his school notebook. During the school year, he had to tear out 33 pages and turn them in for assignments. How many pages does his notebook have now?
- Lawrence weights 160 pounds. His younger brother Sam weighs 110 pounds. How much more does Lawrence weigh than his brother?
- There are 302 students enrolled in the physics class. Within a week, 72 of them have dropped out. How many students are left in the physics class now?
- Samantha has 500 dollars to spend on new computer parts. She spends 473 dollars. How much money does she have left over?
- The school had a budget of 3,000 dollars to spend on the event. They only spent 1,739. How much money did they save?
Subtraction Word Problem #2
Farmer Wong has a crate of five dozen eggs. Before taking them to the farmer’s market, Wong always gives some to his neighbors first. On the way into town, he stops by the Capistrano’s house and gives them eight eggs. Next, he stops by the Fontaine’s house and gives them one dozen eggs. Next, he stops by the Johnson’s house and gives them ten eggs. When he finally reaches the farmer’s market, he has to dispose of five eggs, because they have broken. How many does he have left to sell at the market?
Subtraction Word Problem #3
A journalist is attending a week-long technology conference in another state. She has set aside 2,000 for the trip. First, she spends 350 dollars for round-trip plane tickets. She has to pay 20 for the taxi ride over, and has a 7 dollar breakfast at the airport. After landing in the city, she has a 12 dollar lunch with friends. She stays with a friend, so she has no hotel fees, but gives him 200 anyway for the convenience. She spends exactly 30 dollars on food every day, for the 7 days she is there. On three of those days, she spends an extra 10 dollars on drinks at press parties. On the 8th day, she spends 30 dollars on brunch with friends and 10 dollars for a cab to the airport. How much of her budget does she have leftover at the end of the event?
Subtraction Word Problems #1 – Answers
Subtraction Word Problem #2 – Answer
This problem is loaded with subtraction, so let’s start by gathering up the numbers!
Wong starts with five dozen eggs. One dozen is 12. So we know, using either multiplication or addition (which is much more inefficient, but it works), that Wong starts with 60 eggs. That’s because 12 x 5 = 60. If you don’t know how we got this number, check out this course on fast multiplication techniques or this course on mental math tips.
So, Wong has 60 eggs. Then he gives away 8, 12, and 10 to his neighbors. So that’s:
60 – 8 = 52
52 – 12 = 40
40 – 10 = 30
When Wong reaches the farmer’s market, he has 30 eggs, but five are broken.
30 – 5 = 25
In the end, Wong only has 25 eggs to sell! Maybe he shouldn’t give so many away.
Subtraction Word Problem #3 – Answer
This one has a lot of numbers to keep up with. The trickiest part isn’t the actual subtraction, but keeping track of the numbers! Check out this guide on mental math tricks for help.
2000 – 350 = 1650
1650 – 20 = 1630
1630 – 7 = 1623
1623 – 12 = 1611
1611 – 200 = 1411
1411 – 210 = 1201
1201 – 30 = 1171
1171 – 30 = 1141
1141 – 10 = 1131
The journalist has $1,131 dollars leftover from her $2,000 budget.
Want to get really good at math? Check out this course on advanced math skills made easy.