Lesson 1
Naming Decimals


Decimal numbers, like fractions, allow us to express fractional parts of a number—including places between the integer values on the number line.

In the example shown below, you can see two different points (shown in blue) on a number line that do not fall directly on the integer values. One of the values in this example is between –3 and –2, and the other is somewhere between +2 and +3.

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Decimal numbers can be located between the integer values on a number line.


There are three parts to a decimal number:
  1. An integer
  2. A decimal point
  3. A decimal fraction

A decimal consists of an integer and a decimal fraction, separated by a decimal point.

fig0401_02.jpg (7138 bytes)

Decimal fractions play the same roles in mathematics as the numerator-and-denominator fractions that you have already studied in these lessons. However, you will soon discover that decimal fractions are much more useful and far easier to work with.


This counter runs continuously from decimal value 1.00 to 9.99.

Naming Decimal Place Values

Just as whole numbers and integers have place values, so do decimal numbers. A Decimal number has three parts, including a whole-number part. And, just as before, the whole-number part has place values called tens, hundreds, thousands, and so on. But the decimal fraction part is different.

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In a decimal number, the decimal point is the starting point for determining place values. Place value on the left side of the decimal point are the whole-number values. Place values on the right side of the decimal point are the decimal-fraction place values.



There is no equivalent of a 1's place in the fraction part of a decimal number. There is a 1's place in the whole-number part, but not in the decimal part.


  1. The shaded number in 23.148 is in the hundredths place.
  2. The shaded number in 1.596 is in the thousandths place.
  3. The shaded number in 159.19003 is in the hundred-thousandth place.

Use these interactive examples and exercises to strengthen your understanding and build your skills.

If you are having any trouble understanding the content of this lesson, you will benefit from a more detailed tutorial on the subject.