1/2 + 1/3 = 1/6

Fractions in Python

When you ask your spreadsheet to calculate 1/2 + 1/3 you get something like this:
This is obviously an approximation. The 3’s after the decimal point repeat indefinitely.

The correct answer is:

  • 1/2 = 3/6
  • 1/3 = 2/6
  • 1/2 + 1/3 = 3/6 + 2/6 = 5/6

Python is a simple but powerful language, and comes with a wealth of libraries. Its Fractions library gives you the correct answer in a couple of lines

Here is the annotated code. You can find the raw code at the GitHub repository

1. from fractions import Fraction
Load the Fractions library

2. half = Fraction(‘1/2’)
3. third = Fraction(‘1/3’)
Create the two fractions

4. total = half + third
Add them up

5. print(half, ‘+’, third, ‘=’, total)
Show the result.
The more modern way is to use an “f-string”, which was introduced in Python 3.6, December 2016. This is often more readable, but not here. It would look like this:
print(f'{half} + {third} = {total}’)