What Is a Proper Fraction?

What Is a Proper Fraction?

A proper fraction is a type of fraction.

The top number of a proper fraction (called the numerator) is less than the bottom number (called the denominator).

Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a proper fraction as "a fraction whose magnitude is less than one, the numerator being lower in magnitude than the denominator."

Examples of Proper Fractions

Here are some examples of proper fractions:

Visualizing Proper Fractions

A useful way of visualizing fractions is to picture it as a cake being cut into equal parts.

The top number (the numerator) tells you have many slices you have. The bottom number (the denominator) tells you how many equal slices the cake is cut into.

For proper fractions, there are not enough slices to make a whole cake:

See Also

What is a fraction? What is a numerator? What is a denominator? What is an improper fraction? What is a mixed fraction? Learn more about the types of fractions ( interactive widget)