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By Gregory P. Bullock Ph.D.

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Additional resources for Algebra in Words: A Guide of Hints, Strategies and Simple Explanations

Example text

This is done in two general steps: Isolating the “term with the variable,” Using addition and subtraction, and then Isolating the variable Using division or multiplication. The following is a chronological list of detailed instructions to help you. 1. If there are any denominators, find the least common denominator and multiply all terms on both sides by the LCD to eliminate all denominators. 2. Simplify: Identify and combine like-terms, if any. Note: #s 1 & 2 are interchangeable. You can eliminate denominators first and combine like-terms next.

If you look back at how this was translated in words, you can’t assume that the negative is in parentheses with the base “1”. For that reason, when speaking an equation containing parentheses, you should be specific as to where they start, end, and what is inside them. I started you off with some fundamental properties. This review will help you brush up on the little things many people commonly forget from their previous math experience. Having these reminders will give you an extra edge in solving problems (especially problems that appear to be complicated, but aren’t, once you apply these equalities).

The following examples demonstrate the importance of the second order of operations, as well as the complete and proper wording of that rule, mainly that roots are to be computed first before any other multiplication and division or addition and subtraction. Notice specifically that the root is (to be) computed first, and any factors or negative signs outside the radical are applied next. In words: Negative of the square root of positive one equals negative one. It is important to notice that the negative sign is outside the radical and is thus attributed to the result of the radical, which is calculated first, according to order of operations.