Note: Some English books will use the plural verb “equal” or “are” for the equal sign (=). Grammatically, this is correct but most people use a singular verb.

The teacher asks for the answer like this:

What’s two plus two? (use the singular verb for “be” — “is”)

subtraction or subtracting

5

–

3

=

2

five

minus

three

equals

two

10

–

7

=

3

ten

take away

seven

is

three

Note: The first example (using “minus”) is preferred over the second, but “take away” is popular.

The teacher asks for the answer like this:

What’s five minus three?

Of course, you know how to do math in your own language, but it’s important to practice in English. Here are some other ways to talk about addition and subtraction:

Addition:

A: What do you get if you add six and eight together?

B: You get 14.

A: If you put two and two together, what do you get?

B: You get four.

A: If you add 20 to 30, what does that make?

B: That makes 50.

The word “make” is often used when counting money.

Subtraction:

A: What do you get if you subtract five from nine?

B: You get four.

A: How much do you have if you take three away from seven?