Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty
Basics on the topic Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty
Subtraction – Word Problems
Subtraction word problems are simple subtraction word problems that ask the learner to solve by first reading or listening to the word problem, understanding the information from the word problems involving subtraction of whole numbers, and then ask them to find the answer to the word problems using subtraction. In the next section we will look at an example of word problems in subtraction.
Word Problems with Subtraction – Example
What is an example of a subtraction word problem? This section will explain how to solve subtraction word problems by looking at basic subtraction word problems. Let’s begin:
 The first step is to read or listen to the word problem. As you read or listen, think; what do I need to figure out?’, and highlight the question you need to solve by looking for the question mark.
 The second step is to read or listen to the word problem again and highlight the clue words and numbers. Clue words are words that tell us the important information we need to figure out the answer.
 The third step is to think: Do I add or subtract? How do you know when to subtract in a word problem? There are certain words that mean subtraction in word problems
 The fourth step is to write a number sentence and use drawings to help you solve it!
 The last step is to write down the answer to the subtraction problem.
Here we highlight “How many are left?”,because that's what we need to find out!
The second step is to read or listen to the word problem again and highlight the clue words and numbers. Clue words are words that tell us the important information we need to find the answer! Here, we highlight, "fourteen cows”, because that's how many cows were there at first. We also highlight, "three cows leave", because that tells us how many left to drink water.
The third step is to think: ‘Do I add or subtract?’ as we sometimes have to solve both addition and subtraction word problems. How do you know when to subtract in a word problem? There are certain words that mean subtraction in word problems! In this subtraction word problem, "Three cows leave", tells us to subtract because they are going away!
The fourth step is to write a number sentence. The number sentence we need to solve is fourteen minus three equals question mark, because there were fourteen cows, and three left to go to the watering hole, so we work out fourteen minus three to see how many are left!
The last step is to solve the number sentence. We can draw circles to help us solve, so we have fourteen circles. Since we are subtracting three, we will cross off three. How many are left?
Fourteen minus three equals eleven! So we can answer that eleven cows are left.
Subtraction Word Problems Summary
How do you solve word problems with subtraction? Remember, to find the answer to a word problem using subtraction:
How do you solve word problems with subtraction? Remember, to find the answer to a word problem using subtraction:
Step #  What to do 

1  Read or listen to the word problem. As you read, think; ‘what do I need to figure out? 
2  Next, read or listen to it again and highlight the clue words and numbers. 
3  Then, think: ‘Do I add or subtract?’ 
4  Last, write a number sentence and use drawings to help you solve it! Don't forget to write your answer. 
Have you practised solving word problems with subtraction within 120? On this website you can practise with interactive exercises for subtraction word problems and printable subtraction word problems when you have a look at our word subtraction problems worksheets for KS1.
Transcript Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty
It's a warm day today, and Mr Squeaks and Imani are looking after the cows. Some cows are starting to get thirsty and are wandering away from the herd to get a drink! Let's help Mr. Squeaks and Imani keep track of the cows by solving "Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty" Subtract means to take away from a group. "There are fourteen cows. Three cows leave to drink water. How many are left?" To find the answer to a word problem using subtraction, first, read or listen to the word problem. As you read or listen, think; what do I need to work out? and highlight the question you need to solve by looking for the question mark. Remember, a question mark looks like THIS. What do we highlight? Here we highlight “How many are left?” because that's what we need to work out! Next, read or listen to the word problem again and highlight the clue words and numbers. Clue words, are words that tell us the important information we need to find the answer! In, "There are fourteen cows", highlight "fourteen cows" because that's how many cows were there at first and highlight "three cows leave", because that tells us how many left to drink water. Then, think: Do I add or subtract? "Three cows leave" tells us to subtract because they are going away! Now that we've highlighted all of the IMPORTANT information, let's write a number sentence. The number sentence we need to solve is fourteen minus three equals question mark, because there were fourteen cows, and three left to have a drink, so we work out fourteen minus three to see how many are left! The last step is to solve the number sentence. We can draw circles to help us solve, so let's draw fourteen circles, one for each cow! Since we are subtracting three, we will cross off three. Let's count together! One, two, three! How many are left? Let's count together! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven! There are eleven cows left, so we write the answer HERE. Before we check on the cows at the watering hole, let's remember! Remember, to find the answer to a word problem using subtraction, first, “Read or listen to the word problem”. As you read, think: 'what do I need to work out?' and highlight the question you need to solve by looking for the question mark. Next, read or listen to it again and highlight the clue words and numbers. Then, think: 'Do I add or subtract?' Finally, write a number sentence and use drawings to help you solve it! Don't forget to write your answer! Mr. Squeaks and Imani go to check on the cows that have gone for a drink. What's happening!? Oh no! Hold on tight Mr. Squeaks! "Bill! I haven't see you in ten years! How are you?!?!"
Subtraction Word Problems up to Twenty exercise

What does SUBTRACT mean?
HintsThis picture shows a subtraction problem.
We use the minus () symbol when we subtract.
Subtraction is the opposite of addition.
SolutionSubtract means to take away from a group. When we take away from a group, there are less items left in that group.

What are the steps to find the answer to a word problem using subtraction?
HintsStep 1 is read or listen to the word problem.
Here is a hint for Step 2!
We need to know whether we are adding or subtracting before we write our number sentence.
Solving the number sentence is the final step.
SolutionHere are the correct order of steps. When solving word problems, it is very important to follow the correct order of steps to help get to the correct answer.
 Read or listen to the word problem.
 Highlight the clue words.
 Do I add or subtract?
 Write a number sentence.
 Solve the number sentence.

What number sentence matches the word problem?
HintsThe first number in the sentence is how many of the items there were to start with. How many apples did Henry and Skylar have in the beginning?
Next, we need to choose the symbol. Which symbol means to subtract or take away?
The final number is the answer to our subtraction question. How many apples are left after we subtract 7?
SolutionThe equation should look like this:
19  7 = 12
This is because they had 19 apples to start with, they ate 7, so we subtract this. Finally, we can see how many are left.

Solve the word problem.
HintsLook for key words. What number do you need to start with? This is the amount of balloons that there are in the beginning.
If we subtract the green balloons, how many are we subtracting from the total?
You can use the picture to help fill in the number sentence.
SolutionThe number sentence should look like this:
20  9 = 11

How many sweets are left?
HintsMr. Squeaks had 17 sweets in the beginning.
Do we need to add or subtract 4, from the 17 that he started with?
As Mr. Squeaks gave away some sweets, we need to do a subtraction.
Solution17  4 = 13

Using pictures to solve subtraction word problems.
HintsHow many crayons did Anna start with? This is the number of circles in total that would be drawn.
How many crayons were given away? This is how many circles we cross out.
What is the answer to 12  4?
SolutionThis image shows 12  4 = 8.
Anna has 12 crayons to start with, so we draw 12 circles.
She gave 4 away, so we cross out 4.
Finally, we count how many circles are left.