Addition and Subtraction

When it comes to arithmetic, the four basic operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. As children, when you start learning mathematics, the first thing you need to learn is about these 4 basic operations. Every operation is denoted by an arithmetic symbol. In this section, we’ll look at the first two basic operations of addition and subtraction.


Addition is basically a process of combining two numbers to come up with a new number. Let’s take an example:

You have 1 cat in your house,


And when your uncle buys another cat, as your birthday gift, you will have:


Which means you will have 2 cats. First you had 1 cat and then you have another, so it will be:

1 cat + 1 cat = 2 cats

1+1 = 2

This is called addition. In a similar way, we can add any numbers, including:


i.e. you are adding 3 ducks + 2 ducks, which is equal to:

3 + 2 = 5

So, you have 5 ducks in total.

Here you can see that the + sign is the arithmetic symbol of addition, which denotes that you are making an addition here. If you add only one digit numbers, it is fairly simple, but if you are adding numbers that contains more than 1 digit, then you need to understand the concept of column addition.

Column Addition

Say if you are adding 32+21, then you need to use the column addition concept to add these numbers together, which is easily described in another section.

column addition

column addition


Subtraction is the process of removing some numbers from any given number. Let’s take an example that your mother gave you 5 chocolates,


And you give 3 chocolates to your brother, so how many remain with you? To know the exact number of how many you now have, can be found using subtraction.


You can see the symbol used here is – which is the symbol for subtraction in arithmetic. So, it means

5 chocolates – 3 chocolates, which literally means,

5 – 3 = 2

So finally, you will be left with 2 chocolates only after you give 3 chocolates to your brother.

Similar to adding two large numbers, subtracting two large numbers you also need to use the column subtraction method.

column subtraction

column subtraction method

column subtraction