Addition and Subtraction Word Problems

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Addition and Subtraction Word Problems

Addition and subtraction are the basic operations of Mathematics taught to primary school children as a fundamental part of their syllabus. These basic operations also help us in building a great base for higher-level maths. We start learning the process of addition and subtraction using an abacus at the initial level and move towards complicated world problems. As your academic level increases, you will understand the relevance and importance of addition and subtraction word problems in the world of Mathematics. Here is an exclusive blog discussing different methods of solving these questions!

What are Word Problems?

As the name suggests, word problems are comprehensive questions that are designed to give a real-life simulation of mathematical problems. In the case of addition and subtraction word problems, the question generally revolves around some quantity of an object, which increases and decreases as the question progresses. These questions are pretty direct and easy to solve, even without the use of paper and pen. These word problems can be of the following types, Single and Multiple operations. 

Before we move on to the Addition and Subtraction Word Problems,
here is a list of Seating Arrangement Questions for you!

Single Operation Word Problems

This type of word problem deals with a single operation per question. Here are some examples of single-operation addition and subtraction word problems:-

Q1: Mohit has 12 marbles. He buys 5 more. How many does he have now?

For this question, we will follow these simple steps:

Note the number of marbles Mohit has in the beginning(12)

As he buys more marbles, the total number of marbles will increase, so add the number of marbles he purchased(5) to the number of marbles he originally had(12)

The sum of both numbers(12+5) is the total number of marbles Mohit has now, i.e. 17 marbles.

The answer is 17 Marbles

Did you get these Addition and Subtraction word problems?
Great, try out some Algebra Questions as well!

Q2: Joe has 23 oranges. He eats 2 of them. How many does he have now?

For this question, we will follow these steps: 

Note the number of oranges he has in the beginning(23)

As he eats the oranges, the number of oranges he has will reduce. To get the new number of oranges he has now, we will subtract the number of oranges he ate(2) from the total number of oranges(23)

The difference between the two numbers(23-2) is the number of oranges he has now, i.e. 21 oranges

The answer is 21 Oranges

Multiple Operation Word Problems

Multiple operation word problems include more than one operation in a single addition and subtraction word problem. They are the most common type of addition and subtraction word problems as they include both operations in a single question. We just follow a step-wise approach to solve these word problems. Here’s an example-

Q1: Aman owns 24 pens. He decides to buy 5 more. When he comes home he loses 3 pens. How many pens does he have now?

For this question, we take the following steps:

Note the original number of pens Aman has (24)

Add the number of pens he buys(24+5=29)

Subtract the number of pens he loses(29-3=26)

The number of pens he has in the end = 26

The answer is 26 Pens

Try out these BODMAS Questions to improve your Mathematics!

Word Problems for Grade 2

Q1. 114 birds were sitting on a tree. 21 more birds flew up to the tree. How many birds were there altogether in the tree? 

No. of birds initially = 114

Birds flew up to the tree = 21 

Total no. of birds = 114 + 21 = 135

Hence, There were 135 birds in the tree 

Q2. 29 birds were sitting in a tree. Some more fly up to the tree. Then there would be 142 birds in the tree. How many flew up to the tree?

No. of birds sitting in a tree = 29 

Total no. of birds = 142 

Birds flew up to the tree = 142 – 29 = 113 

Hence, 113 birds flew up to the tree

Q3. Beth has 74 crayons. She gives 25 of them away to Jen. How many crayons does beth have left. 

Total no. of crayons of Beth = 74 

Beth gives = 25 

No. of crayons left = 74 – 25 = 49 

Hence, Beth has 49 crayons left 

Q4. Cindy’s mom baked 41 cookies. Paul’s dad baked 38 cookies. Cindy and Paul ate 6 cookies each and then brought them to school for a party. How many cookies did they bring to school altogether? 

Cindy’s baked cookies = 41 

Paul’s dad baked cookies = 38 

Cindy and Paul ate cookies = 6 each

Total no. of cookies baked = 41 + 38 = 79 

Total cookies they bring to school = 79 – 12 = 67 

Hence, 67 total cookies they bring to the school 

Word Problems for Grade 3 

Janina owns a catering service company. She was hired to cater for the mayor’s 50th birthday. 

Q1. For the appetizers, she needs to make 750 mini meat pies. She divided her crew into 3 teams. If the first team made 235, and the second made 275, how many pies should the third team make? 

Total Meat Pies needed = 750 

Meat pies made by first-team = 235

Meat pies made by the second team = 275 

235 + 275 = 510

Then, Meat Pies made by third-team = 750 – 510 = 240 

Hence, meat pies made by third-team = 240

Q2. She needs 280 cups of mushroom soup. If the first team made 90 cups in 60 mins, and the third team made 70 cups in 90 mins, how many cups should the second team prepare in order to meet the required amount of soup?

Total soup cups needed = 280 

Cups made by first-team = 90

Cups made by third-team = 70 

90+70 = 160

Then, cups made by second-team = 280 – 160 = 120

Hence, the second team should prepare 120 soup cups. 

Q3. For the first main dish, they were asked to cook steak. If the third and second-team cooked 240 plates of steak, and the first team cooked 75 plates less than what the second and third-team made, how many steaks did they cook altogether? 

Steak cooked by third and second-team = 240 

Steak cooked by first-team cooked = 75

Steak cooked by second and third-team = 240 – 75 = 165 

Total steaks cooked = 240 + 165 = 405

Hence, they cooked a total of 40 steaks.  

Q4. For the second main course, they made fish fillets for the 320 people at the party. The first team made 189 pieces, the second team made 131 pieces and the third team made 180 pieces, how many pieces were made altogether? 

Pieces made by first-team = 189

Pieces made by second-team = 131

Pieces made by third-team = 180 

Total pieces = 189 + 131 + 180 = 500

Hence, 500 pieces were made altogether.

Word Problems for Grade 4

The table shows the number of people visiting an art museum over 3 months. 

Senior15 22?

Q1. What is the total number of people that visited the art museum in January? 

In Jan, 

Child = 28

Adult = 59

Senior = 15 

Total = 102

Hence, the total number visited the art museum in January = 102 

Q2. Compared to January, how many more children go to the museum in February? 

Children in January = 28

Children in February = 34 

34-28 = 6

Hence, 6 more children go to the museum in February. 

Q3. How many adults visited the museum in February? 

In February, 

Total People = 139 

Children = 34

Senior = 22

No. of Adults = 139 – 34 – 22 = 83

Hence, 83 adults visited the museum in February. 

Q4. 16 more seniors visited in March. Tell the total no. of seniors who visited the museum in March?

Seniors in Jan and Feb = 15 + 22 = 37

Seniors in March = 37 + 16 = 53 

Also, here we can calculate the total no. of visitors = 55 + 56 + 53 = 164

Hence, March has a total no. of 164 visitors in the three months. 

Common Errors

When attempting to solve addition and subtraction word problems, there are a few frequent errors. Some of these include:

  • Calculation mistakes – You must be very careful when adding or subtracting numbers because it is frequently observed that students make errors when working carelessly.
  • Right explanation – When working on word problems, it’s crucial to use correct statements in order to properly explain the actions conducted. Mentioning what is given, what needs to be calculated, and the formula envisioned for usage in this regard are among them.
  • Understanding of the Problem – One of the most frequent mistakes is when a student is unable to determine if the issue requires an addition or a subtraction solution.

Tips for Solving Addition and Subtraction Word Problems

Here’s a little helpful tip to get through addition and subtraction word problems:

  • Words like purchasing, winning, making, buying or getting something from someone are related to addition problems. If you spot such sentences, you should apply addition operations.
  • Words like losing, eating, selling, and giving to someone are related to subtraction problems. If you spot such sentences, you should apply subtraction operations.

Now that you know how to solve addition and subtraction word problems,
you must try these simplification questions as well!

Practice Questions

Having explained the types of questions which can come for addition and subtraction word problems, here are some practice questions for you to sharpen your skills-

Q1: if Kishan has 2 balls and Shyam gives him 9 balls, how many balls does Kishan have now?

Q2: If Seeta has 4 apples and Geeta takes away 3 apples from her, how many apples does Seeta have now?

Q3: Matt has 10 watches. He sells 6 of them. How many watches are left with Matt?

Q4: Joseph has 20 cars. If his friends take away 12 of them, then how many cars are left with Joseph?

Q5: Raman has 25 shirts.12 got dirty and 3 are torn. How many good shirts does Raman have?

Q6: Fred has 50 Rupees as his pocket money. He spends 12 on a burger and 17 on a cold drink. How much money does he have now?

Q7: Bruce has 6 gold medals. He wins 3 more at racing. How many gold medals does he have now?

Q8: ABC company has 250 bikes in their store. They sell 153 of them. Then they make 46 new bikes. How many bikes do they have now?

Q9: Varun has 30 fans. Sonam sold him 40 more and Raju bought 22 fans from him. How many fans does Varun have now?

Q10: Radhika has 45 lipsticks. She bought 25 more and gave 17 to Rama. How many lipsticks does Radhika have now?

Q11: A company has 345 workers. They hire 123 more. 12 people leave the company. 23 workers are absent on Monday. How many workers are there in the company on Monday?

Q12: A person takes 14 minutes for a bath. He further takes 20 minutes to get ready and 20 minutes to drive to his office. How much time does it take to reach the office?


What are the most basic parts of mathematics?

Addition, Subtraction, Divide, and Multiply are the four most basic parts of mathematics.

Why learning basic maths is basic important?

The basic parts of maths will be applicable to different course materials as well as different aspects of life.

What problems students should learn first?

Students should learn addition first.

We hope these questions helped you understand addition and subtraction word problems in a better way. Connect with us at Leverage Edu to browse through more such educational and informative blogs.

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