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Post a message or simply read what others have written and answered. Rachel, a RightStart™ Math user and one of our customer care people, will be monitoring this forum. She will respond to your questions as needed.

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Subtraction & "Taking Away"

So, this is a really basic question, but can someone explain to me why "take away" is bad English? I do understand that in some cases it is totally illogical (like when making change), but my daughter seems to gravitate to this language and I cannot quite seem to identify why it is necessarily inappropriate in a question like "There were 12 pieces of candy and Sam took 7, how many were left for Sally?"

Re: Subtraction & "Taking Away"

Hi, Kelly.

Good question! The terms 'take away' will work to help the child understand what process is taking place. However, the 'formal' wording - which your daughter will need to learn (especially if she will be taking any of the standardized tests) is subtraction.

My kids did the exact same thing - especially when they were starting math. I would allow them to say 'take away' but would follow up with 'which is also called subtraction'. After a while, I would require them to say that as well, and eventually, they didn't say 'take away' at all.

I hope that helps! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to repost here or email RightStart Math directly at

Have a great day!