problems in algebra depends on your ability to represent missing
or unknown quantities.
Representing unknown quantities
is easy to do
if you know the "language".
For example, what
operation is meant by the phrase
you guessed addition, then you are right!
This skill of "translating" between words and mathematical
operations just takes a little vocabulary
drill. Below are some of the most common phrases used in
problem solving, together with the operations they represent.
Study these relationships and you should be a whiz at algebraic
be careful using
"less than" - it reverses the order of things
Also, be careful of the placement of commas in statements.
In the statement "the sum of a and b, divided by 3" the comma
the answer is (a+b)/3 and not a + b/3.
more than a number
less than three times a number
- 5 notice
how this changed the order
times a number, increased by 4
decreased by 5 times a number
Now let's try working in the other direction:
Given 2x - 4, write a
verbal expression that matches this
Some possible verbal answers:
twice a number decreased by 4
four less than two times a value
double a numberminus 4
two times a numberdiminished by 4