# What Is a Reciprocal?

The reciprocal of a quantity is the result of dividing 1 by that quantity.

#### Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a reciprocal as "based on an inverse relationship."

# Real Examples of Reciprocals

The reciprocal can't be found for numbers, letters and more complicated quantities, like terms and expressions.

Type of Quantity Quantity Reciprocal
Numbers
Letters
Terms
Expressions

# More Real Examples of Reciprocals

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# Reciprocals of Fractions

To find the reciprocal of a fraction, 1 is divided by the fraction.

Dividing 1 by a fraction turns the fraction upside down.

Read more about how to find the reciprocal of a fraction

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# Exponent Notation For a Reciprocals

To denote the reciprocal of a quantity, place -1 to the top-right of the quantity. This is an exponent of -1.

Read more about exponents of -1

# Multiplying a Quantity With Its Reciprocal Equals 1

Multiplying a quantity with its reciprocal equals 1.

# Be Careful With Notation

Sometimes brackets are needed to indicate which part of a term is a reciprocal.

For example,

is different from