How to Say and Write Fractions in Spanish? Tips and Examples

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Fractions in Spanish
  • Luis Ronson
  • 10 Mar, 2024
  • 6 Mins Read

Fractions in Spanish is a mathematical term used to express the dividing parts of a whole. The Spanish Fractions are named una unidad(1/1), una mitad(1/2), un tercio(1/3), un cuarto(1/4), un quinto(1/5), un sexto(1/6), un séptimo(1/7), un octavo(1/8), un noveno(1/9), un décimo(1/10)

What is a Fraction?

Fractions are mathematical expressions that represent parts of a whole. In a fraction, the numerator indicates the number of parts being considered, while the denominator represents the total number of equal parts that make up the whole. For example, in the fraction 3/4, the numerator is 3, and the denominator is 4.

whole1/1una unidad
half1/2una mitad
a third1/3un tercio
a fourth1/4un cuarto
a fifth1/5un quinto
a sixth1/6un sexto
a seventh1/7un séptimo
an eighth1/8un octavo
a ninth1/9un noveno
a tenth1/10un décimo

What Are the Most Common Spanish Fractions?

In Spanish, fractions are expressed using specific words corresponding to English equivalents. Here are some common Spanish fractions:

  • Half (Mitad/Medio)
  • Third (Tercio)
  • Fourth (Cuarto)
  • Fifth (Quinto)
  • Sixth (Sexto)
  • Seventh (Séptimo)
  • Eighth (Octavo)
  • Ninth (Noveno)
  • Tenth (Décimo)

Half (Mitad/Medio)

The Spanish words for “half” are “mitad” (feminine) and “medio” (masculine). These words are used to describe fifty percent of a given noun. Using “mitad” and “medio” depends on their function in the sentence.
For example:

  • Tengo media sandía. (I have half a watermelon.)
  • Quiero comer la mitad de la sandía. (I want to eat half of the watermelon.)

Third (Tercio)

The word for “third” in Spanish is “tercio.” It is a masculine noun used to represent one-third of a whole.
For example:

  • Un tercio de la población prefiere comida dulce. (One-third of the population prefers sweet food.)

Fourth (Cuarto)

The Spanish word for “fourth” is “cuarto.” It is used to express one-fourth or a quarter of something.
For example:

  • Un cuarto de los anfibios y reptiles europeos está en peligro de extinción. (A quarter of European amphibians and reptiles are in danger of extinction.)

Fifth (Quinto)

“Quinto” is the Spanish word for “fifth.” It represents one-fifth of the whole.
For example:

  • Perdió un quinto de su valor en menos de dos años. (It lost one-fifth of its value in less than two years.)

Sixth (Sexto)

The word “sexto” in Spanish means “sixth.” It is used to describe one-sixth of something.
For example:

  • Dos sextos es igual a un tercio. (Two-sixths is equal to one-third.)

Seventh (Séptimo)

In Spanish, “séptimo” means “seventh.” It is used to express one-seventh of a whole.
For example:

  • Tres séptimos más un séptimo es igual a cuatro séptimos. (Three-sevenths plus one-seventh equals four-sevenths.)

Eighth (Octavo)

The Spanish word for “eighth” is “octavo.” It describes one-eighth of a whole.
For example:

  • El kilómetro es casi igual a cinco octavos de una milla. (A kilometer is about equal to five-eighths of a mile.)

Ninth (Noveno)

“Noveno” is the Spanish word for “ninth.” It represents the one-ninth of something.
For example:

  • El ingreso total sería de ocho novenos del salario mínimo legal. (The total income would be eight-ninths of the minimum legal wage.)

Tenth (Décimo)

The word “décimo” in Spanish means “tenth.” It is used to express one-tenth of a whole.
For example:

  • Perdió tres décimos de su peso. (He lost three-tenths of his weight.)

How to Say Fractions in Spanish?

When learning the Spanish language, understanding how to say fractions is essential for everyday communication, especially in contexts such as cooking, shopping, or discussing measurements. In Spanish, expressing fractions follows a straightforward pattern, but it’s important to grasp the basic vocabulary and structure.

  • Cardinal Number (Numerator) + Ordinal Number (Denominator)

For instance, “half” in Spanish is “medio,” and “quarter” is “cuarto.” Therefore, “one-half” would be “un medio,” and “one-quarter” would be “un cuarto.

  • 1/2: Un medio (One half)
  • 1/3: Un tercio (One third)
  • 2/3: Dos tercios (Two thirds)
  • 1/4: Un cuarto (One quarter)
  • 3/4: Tres cuartos (Three quarters)
  • 1/5: Un quinto (One fifth)
  • 2/5: Dos quintos (Two fifths)
  • 3/5: Tres quintos (Three fifths)
  • 1/8: Un octavo (One eighth)
  • 3/8: Tres octavos (Three eighths)

How to Express Spanish Fractions?

In Spanish, fractions are formulated by combining cardinal and ordinal numbers. Let’s take the example of two-thirds (2/3) to understand the formulation process. The numerator, “dos” (two), represents the cardinal number, while the denominator, “tercios” (thirds), represents the ordinal number. Numerators other than one make the denominator plural, just like in English (two-fifths).

Fractions represent a fundamental link between whole numbers and real numbers, serving as a bridge that connects discrete quantities to continuous ones. Whole numbers denote complete units, while fractions break these units into smaller, more precise parts.

When the numerator is one, such as in one-fifth (1/5), the indefinite article “un” is used instead of “uno.”
For example:

  • Un quinto (One fifth)
  • Necesito un quinto de harina. (I need one-fifth of flour.)

How to Use Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers?

Cardinal numbers (1, 2, 3) and ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd) work together to express fractions in Spanish. The cardinal number describes the numerator, while the ordinal number describes the denominator. For example, “dos tercios” translates to “two-thirds” in English.

How to Using (Use) “Un” and “Una”?

In Spanish, the words “un” (masculine) and “una” (feminine) can be used before a fraction to indicate “a” or “one.” For example, “un medio” means “one half,” while “una mitad” also means “one half.” These words are used interchangeably based on the gender of the noun they modify.

What are Masculine and Feminine Forms?

Most Spanish fractions, except for “medio” and “mitad,” are masculine and must agree with the noun they modify. For example, “dos tercios” (two-thirds) is masculine because “tercios” is a masculine noun.

How to Use Singular and Plural Fractions?

When the numerator is greater than one, the fraction is plural, and the noun it modifies must also be plural.  For example, “dos tercios” (two-thirds) and “tres cuartos” (three-fourths) are plural because they represent more than one unit.

Using Fractions with Nouns

When using fractions with nouns, it is necessary to use the preposition “de” to connect the fraction and the noun. This construction is used to indicate a part or portion of something.
For example:

  • Tres cuartos de los estudiantes (Three-fourths of the students)
  • Dos quintos del libro (Two-fifths of the book)

By using “de,” we create a relationship between the fraction and the noun, specifying the part being referred to.

Examples of Spanish Fractions in Context

Understanding how Spanish fractions are used in real-life contexts can further enhance your comprehension. Here are some examples of Spanish fractions in context:

  • Una tercera parte de internautas admite usar la misma contraseña para todos sus accesos web. (A third of Internet users admit using the same password for all their website access.)
  • Más de la cuarta parte de las fuerzas armadas buscan terroristas. (Over a quarter of the armed forces are searching for terrorists.)
  • Se dice que una sexta parte de la humanidad es analfabeta. (It is said that a sixth of humanity is illiterate.)
  • Ella posee siete octavas partes de la casa. (She owns seven-eighths of the house.)

These examples showcase how fractions are used in various contexts, emphasizing their importance in everyday communication.

The Difference Between Fractions and Ordinal Numbers

While fractions and ordinal numbers share similarities, it is important to distinguish between them. Fractions represent parts of a whole, while ordinal numbers indicate the position or order of something in a sequence. For example, in the fraction 1/3, the numerator represents one of the three equal parts, while in the ordinal number “third,” the term describes the position of an object in a sequence.

Luis Ronson

Luis Ronson is a Spanish teacher at He's a bilingual Spanish-English. She has a master's in "vocabulary" and is responsible for our Spanish vocabulary-related articles.

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