Subtracting Two- and Three-Digit Numbers

Learn all about subtracting two-digit numbers and subtracting three-digit numbers in this free lesson, which includes practice problems.


Sometimes when you subtract, you will notice that the top digit is smaller than the bottom. For example, take a look at this problem:

75 - 29

Normally, we'd start on the right with 5 - 9. However, since 9 is bigger than 5, we can't subtract normally. Instead, we have to use a technique called borrowing.

Let's see how it works.

As you borrow, always cross out the digit you borrow from and write the new value above it. Remember to always place the 1 next to the smaller digit.

Try This!

Try these problems to practice borrowing. Check your answer by typing it into the box.

73 - 14 =
46 - 8 =
151 - 26 =

Borrowing More Than Once

Sometimes the top number might have two or more digits that are smaller than the digits beneath them. In that case, you'll need to borrow more than once. It will always work the same way. You'll always subtract 1 from the digit to the left and place 1 next to the smaller digit.

In some cases, you might notice that the number to the left is zero. Check out the slideshow below to see an example of what to do.

Try This!

Try solving these subtraction problems to practice borrowing more than one time. Check your answer by typing it in the box.

200 - 94 =
654 - 598 =
101 - 43 =