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Why isn't it possible to divide by zero?

 Aug 2, 2019
 #1
avatar+8725 
+3

Here's one way to figure out, for example, what is  10 ÷ 2

 __ ___ ____ 
10-2=8 count  =  1
8-2=6 count  =  2
6-2=4 count  =  3
4-2=2 count  =  4
2-2=0 count  =  5

 

We had to subtract  2  a total of  5  times before we couldn't subtract it any more (without getting a number < 0)

Or we can say that  2  "fits into"  10  a total of  5 times.

So  10 ÷ 2  =  5

 

Now let's try to use the same method to figure out what is  10 ÷ 0  

 __ ___ ____ 
10-0=10 count  =  1
10-0=10 count  =  2
10-0=10 count  =  3
10-0=10 count  =  4
10-0=10 count  =  5
10-0=10 count  =  6
10-0=10 count  =  7
10-0=10 count  =  8
10-0=10 count  =  9

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.

 

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We keep subtracting  0  over and over again, but we aren't getting anywhere!  This is an endless loop.

There is not a number of times that we can subtract  0  from  10  to reach a number < 0.

In other words, there is not a number that is equal to  10 ÷ 0

 Aug 2, 2019
edited by hectictar  Aug 2, 2019
 #2
avatar+773 
+2

wow i didn't know that myself thanks hectictar

 Aug 2, 2019
 #3
avatar+8725 
+3

Thank you! There are many different ways to explain the problem with dividing by zero, but I like that way. Maybe someone else will provide another explanation. smiley

hectictar  Aug 2, 2019

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