Use the Language of Algebra

1.1 Use the Language of Algebra

The topics covered in this section are:

  1. Find factors, prime factorizations, and least common multiples
  2. Use variables and algebraic symbols
  3. Simplify expressions using the order of operations
  4. Evaluate an expression
  5. Identify and combine like terms
  6. Translate an English phrase to an algebraic expression

1.1.1 Find Factors, Prime Factorizations, and Least Common Multiples

The numbers $2,4,6,8,10,12$ are called multiples of $2$. A multiple of $2$ can be written as the product of a counting number and $2$.

Multiples of 2: 2 times 1 is 2, 2 times 2 is 4, 2 times 3 is 6, 2 times 4 is 8, 2 times 5 is 10, 2 times 6 is 12 and so on.

Similarly, a multiple of $3$ would be the product of a counting number and $3$.

Multiples of 3: 3 times 1 is 3, 3 times 2 is 6, 3 times 3 is 9, 3 times 4 is 12, 3 times 5 is 15, 3 times 6 is 18 and so on.

We could find the multiples of any number by continuing this process.

Counting Number$1$$2$$3$$4$$5$$6$$7$$8$$9$$10$$11$$12$
Multiples of $2$$2$$4$$6$$8$$10$$12$$14$$16$$18$$20$$22$$24$
Multiples of $3$$3$$6$$9$$12$$15$$18$$21$$24$$27$$30$$33$$36$
Multiples of $4$$4$$8$$12$$16$$20$$24$$28$$32$$36$$40$$44$$48$
Multiples of $5$$5$$10$$15$$20$$25$$30$$35$$40$$45$$50$$55$$60$
Multiples of $6$$6$$12$$18$$24$$30$$36$$42$$48$$54$$60$$66$$72$
Multiples of $7$$7$$14$$21$$28$$35$$42$$49$$56$$63$$70$$77$$84$
Multiples of $8$$8$$16$$24$$32$$40$$48$$56$$64$$72$$80$$88$$96$
Multiples of $9$$9$$18$$27$$36$$45$$54$$63$$72$$81$$90$$99$$108$

MULTIPLE OF A NUMBER

A number is a multiple of $n$ if it is the product of a counting number and $n$.

Another way to say that $15$ is a multiple of $3$ is to say that $15$ is divisible by $3$. That means that when we divide $3$ into $15$, we get a counting number. In fact, $15 \div 3$ is $5$, so $15$ is $5 \cdot 3$.

DIVISIBLE BY A NUMBER

If a number $m$ is a multiple of $n$, then $m$ is divisible by $n$.

If we were to look for patterns in the multiples of the numbers $2$ through $9$, we would discover the following divisibility tests:

DIVISIBILITY TESTS

A number is divisible by:

  • $2$ if the last digit is $0,2,4,6,$ or $8$.
  • $3$ if the sum of the digits is divisible by $3$.
  • $5$ if the last digit is $5$ or $0$.
  • $6$ if it is divisible by both $2$ and $3$.
  • $10$ if it ends with $0$.

Example 1

Is $5,625$ divisible by…

  • $2$?
  • $3$?
  • $5$ or $10$?
  • $6$?
Solution

Part 1.

Is $5,625$ divisible by $2$?
Does it end in $0,2,4,6$ or $8$?No.
$5,625$ is not divisible by $2$.

Part 2.

Is $5,625$ divisible by $3$?
What is the sum of the digits?$5+6+2+5=18$
Is the sum divisible by $3$?Yes.
$5,625$ is divisible by $3$.

Part 3.

Is $5,625$ divisible by $5$ or $10$?
What is the last digit? It is $5$.$5,625$ is divisible by $5$ but not by $10$.

Part 4.

Is $5,625$ divisible by $6$?
Is it divisible by both $2$ and $3$?No, $5,625$ is not divisible by $2$, so $5,625$ is not divisible by $6$.

In mathematics, there are often several ways to talk about the same ideas. So far, we’ve seen that if $m$ is a multiple of $n$, we can say that $m$ is divisible by $n$. For example, since $72$ is a multiple of $8$, we say $72$ is divisible by $8$. Since $72$ is a multiple of $9$, we say $72$ is divisible by $9$. We can express this still another way.

Since $8 \cdot 9 = 72$, we say that $8$ and $9$ are factors of $72$. When we write $72=8 \cdot 9$, we say we have factored $72$.

8 times 9 is 72. 8 and 9 are factors. 72 is the product.

Other ways to factor $72$ are $1 \cdot 72$, $2 \cdot36$, $3 \cdot 24$, $4 \cdot 18$, and $6 \cdot 12$. The number $72$ has many factors:

$1,2,3,4,6,8,9,12,18,24,36,$ and $72$.

Factors

In the expression $a \cdot b$, both $a$ and $b$ are called factors. If $a \cdot b = m$, and both $a$ and $b$ are integers, then $a$ and $b$ are factors of $m$.

Some numbers, such as $72$, have many factors. Other numbers have only two factors. A prime number is a counting number greater than $1$ whose only factors are $1$ and itself.

PRIME NUMBER AND COMPOSITE NUMBER

prime number is a counting number greater than $1$ whose only factors are $1$ and the number itself.

composite number is a counting number greater than $1$ that is not prime. A composite number has factors other than $1$ and the number itself.

The counting numbers from $2$ to $20$ are listed in the table with their factors. Make sure to agree with the “prime” or “composite” label for each!

This table has three columns, 19 rows and a header row. The header row labels each column: number, factors and prime or composite. The values in each row are as follows: number 2, factors 1, 2, prime; number 3, factors 1, 3, prime; number 4, factors 1, 2, 4, composite; number 5, factors, 1, 5, prime; number 6, factors 1, 2, 3, 6, composite; number 7, factors 1, 7, prime; number 8, factors 1, 2, 4, 8, composite; number 9, factors 1, 3, 9, composite; number 10, factors 1, 2, 5, 10, composite; number 11, factors 1, 11, prime; number 12, factors 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, composite; number 13, factors 1, 13, prime; number 14, factors 1, 2, 7, 14, composite; number 15, factors 1, 3, 5, 15, composite; number 16, factors 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, composite; number 17, factors 1, 17, prime; number 18, factors 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 18, composite; number 19, factors 1, 19, prime; number 20, factors 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, composite.

The prime numbers less than $20$ are $2,3,5,7,11,13,17,$ and $19$. Notice that the only even prime number is $2$.

A composite number can be written as a unique product of primes. This is called the prime factorization of the number. Finding the prime factorization of a composite number will be useful in many topics in this course.

PRIME FACTORIZATION

The prime factorization of a number is the product of prime numbers that equals the number.

To find the prime factorization of a composite number, find any two factors of the number and use them to create two branches. If a factor is prime, that branch is complete. Circle that prime. Otherwise it is easy to lose track of the prime numbers.

If the factor is not prime, find two factors of the number and continue the process. Once all the branches have circled primes at the end, the factorization is complete. The composite number can now be written as a product of prime numbers.

Example 2

How to Find the Prime Factorization of a Composite Number

Factor $48$.

Solution
Step 1 is to find two factors whose product is 48 and use these numbers to create two branches. The two branches originating from 48 are formed by the factors 2 and 24.
Step 2 is to circle the prime factor. This completes that branch. In this case, 2 is circled as it is prime.
Step 3 is to treat the composite factor as a product, break it into two more factors and continue the process. 24 is not prime. It is broken into 4 and 6. 4 and 6 are not prime. 4 is broken into its factors 2 and 2, both of which are circled. 6 is not prime. It is broken into factors 2 and 3, both of which are circled.
Step 4 is to write the original composite number as the product of all the circled primes. 48 is 2 into 2 into 2 into 2 into 3.

We say $2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 3$ is the prime factorization of $48$. We generally write the primes in ascending order. Be sure to multiply the factors to verify your answer.

If we first factored $48$ in a different way, for example as $6 \cdot 8$, the result would still be the same. Finish the prime factorization and verify this for yourself.

HOW TO: Find the prime factorization of a composite number.

  1. Find two factors whose product is the given number, and use these numbers to create two branches.
  2. If a factor is prime, that branch is complete. Circle the prime, like a leaf on the tree.
  3. If a factor is not prime, write it as the product of two factors and continue the process.
  4. Write the composite number as the product of all the circled primes.

One of the reasons we look at primes is to use these techniques to find the least common multiple of two numbers. This will be useful when we add and subtract fractions with different denominators.

LEAST COMMON MULTIPLE

The least common multiple (LCM) of two numbers is the smallest number that is a multiple of both numbers.

To find the least common multiple of two numbers we will use the Prime Factors Method. Let’s find the LCM of $12$ and $18$ using their prime factors.

Example 3

How to Find the Least Common Multiple Using the Prime Factors Method

Find the least common multiple (LCB) of $12$ and $18$ using the prime factors method.

Solution
Step 1 is to write each number as a product of primes. The number 12 is written as a product of 2, 2 and 3. The number 18 is written as a product of 2, 3 and 3.
Step 2 is to list the primes of each number such that primes are vertically matched when possible. The factors of 12 are listed as 2, 2 and 3. The factors of 18 are written below this. The first 2 at the top lines up with the first two at the bottom. The second 2 at the top does not line up with anything. The 3 at the top lines up with a 3 at the bottom. The last 3 at the bottom does not line up with anything. Hence, four columns are made.
Step 3 is to bring down the number from each column. When a column has the same number at the top and the bottom, that number is brought down. When a column has only one number that number is brought down. The numbers brought down are 2, 2, 3 and 3.
Step 4 is to multiply the factors. The numbers brought down are multiplied with each other to get the LCM. The LCM is 2 into 2 into 3 into 3 equal to 36.

Notice that the prime factors of $12 (2 \cdot 2 \cdot 3)$ and the prime factors of $18 (2 \cdot 3 \cdot 3)$ are included in the LCM $(2 \cdot 2 \cdot 3 \cdot 3)$. So 36 is the least common multiple of $12$ and $18$.

By matching up the common primes, each common prime factor is used only once. This way you are sure that $36$ is the least common multiple.

HOW TO: Find the least common multiple using the Prime Factors Method.

  1. Write each number as a product of primes.
  2. List the primes of each number. Match primes vertically when possible.
  3. Bring down the columns.
  4. Multiply the factors.

1.1.2 Use Variables and Algebraic Symbols

In algebra, we use a letter of the alphabet to represent a number whose value may change. We call this a variable and letters commonly used for variables are $x,y,a,b,c$.

VARIABLE

variable is a letter that represents a number whose value may change.

A number whose value always remains the same is called a constant.

To write algebraically, we need some operation symbols as well as numbers and variables. There are several types of symbols we will be using. There are four basic arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We’ll list the symbols used to indicate these operations below.

OPERATION SYMBOLS

OperationNotationSay:The result is…
Addition$a+b$$a$ plus $b$the sum of $a$ and $b$
Subtraction$a-b$$a$ minus $b$the difference of $a$ and $b$
Multiplication$a \cdot b$, $ab$, $(a)(b)$, $(a)b$, $a(b)$$a$ timess $b$the product of $a$ and $b$
Division$a \div b$, $a/b$, $\frac{a}{b}$, $b \overline{)a}$$a$ divided by $b$the quotient of $a$ and $b$;
$a$ s called the dividend, and $b$ is called the divisor

When two quantities have the same value, we say they are equal and connect them with an equal sign.

EQUALITY SYMBOL

$a=b$ is read “$a$ is equal to $b$.”

The symbol “$=$” is called the equal sign.

On the number line, the numbers get larger as they go from left to right. The number line can be used to explain the symbols “$<$” and “$>$”.

INEQUALITY

For a less than b, a is to the left of b on the number line. For a greater than b, a is to the right of b on the number line.

The expressions $a<b$ or $a>b$ can be read from left to right or right to left, though in English we usually read from left to right. In general,

$a<b$ is equivalent to $b>a$. For example, $7<11$ is equivalent to $11>7$.

$a>b$ is equivalent to $b<a$. For example, $17>4$ is equivalent to $4<17$.

INEQUALITY SYMBOLS

Inequality SymbolsWords
$a \neq b$$a$ is not equal to $b$.
$a<b$$a$ is less than $b$
$a \leq b$$a$ is less than or equal to $b$.
$a>b$$a$ is greater than $b$.
$a \geq b$$a$ is greater than or equal to $b$.

Grouping symbols in algebra are much like the commas, colons, and other punctuation marks in English. They help identify an expression, which can be made up of number, a variable, or a combination of numbers and variables using operation symbols. We will introduce three types of grouping symbols now.

GROUPING SYMBOLS

Parentheses $( \ )$

Brackets $[ \ ]$

Braces $\{ \ \}$

Here are some examples of expressions that include grouping symbols. We will simplify expressions like these later in this section.

$8(14-8)$$21-3[2+4(9-8)]$$24 \div \{ 13-2[1(6-5)+4] \}$

What is the difference in English between a phrase and a sentence? A phrase expresses a single thought that is incomplete by itself, but a sentence makes a complete statement. A sentence has a subject and a verb. In algebra, we have expressions and equations.

ExpressionWordsEnglish Phrase
$3+5$$3$ plus $5$the sum of three and five
$n-1$$n$ minus onethe difference of $n$ and one
$6 \cdot 7$$6$ times $7$the product of six and seven
$\frac{x}{y}$$x$ divided by $y$the quotient of $x$ and $y$

Notice that the English phrases do not form a complete sentence because the phrase does not have a verb.

An equation is two expressions linked by an equal sign. When you read the words the symbols represent in an equation, you have a complete sentence in English. The equal sign gives the verb.

EQUATION

An equation is two expressions connected by an equal sign.

EquationEnglish Sentence
$3+5=18$The sum of three and five is equal to eight.
$n-1=14$$n$ minus one equals fourteen.
$6 \cdot 7 =42$The product of six and seven is equal to forty-two.
$x=53$$x$ is equal to fifty-three.
$y+9=2y-3$$y$ plus nine is equal to two $y$ minus three.

Suppose we need to multiply $2$ nine times. We could write this as $2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2$ . This is tedious and it can be hard to keep track of all those $2$s, so we use exponents. We write $2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2$ as $2^{3}$ and $2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2 \cdot 2$ as $2^{9}$. In expressions such as $2^{3}$, the $2$ is called the base and the $3$ is called the exponent. The exponent tells us how many times we need to multiply the base.

The expression shows the number 2, with the number 3 written to its top right. 2 is labeled base and 3 is labeled exponent. This means multiply 2 by itself, three times, as in 2 times 2 times 2.

Exponential Notation

We say $2^{3}$ is in exponential notation and $2 \dot 2 \cdot 2$ is in expanded notation.

$a^{n}$ means multiply $a$ by itself, $n$ times.

The expression shown is a to the nth power. Here a is the base and n is the exponent. This is equal to a times a times a and so on, repeated n times. This has n factors.

The expression $a^{n}$ is read $a$ to the $n^{ \mathrm{th}}$ power.

While we read $a^{n}$ as “$a$ to the $n^{ \mathrm{th}}$ power, we usually read:

$a^{2}$ as “$a$ squared”

$a^{3}$ as “$a$ cubed”

We’ll see later why $a^{2}$ and $a^{3}$ have special names.

Table 1.1 shows how we read some expressions with exponents.

ExpressionIn Words
$7^{2}$$7$ to the second power or$7$ squared
$5^{3}$$5$ to the third power or$5$ cubed
$9^{4}$$9$ to the fourth power
$12^{5}$$12$ to the fifth power
Table 1.1

1.1.3 Simplify Expressions Using the Order of Operations

To simplify an expression means to do all the math possible. For example, to simplify $4 \cdot 2 + 1$ we would first multiply $4 \cdot 2$ to get 8 and then add the $1$ to get $9$. A good habit to develop is to work down the page, writing each step of the process below the previous step. The example just described would look like this:

$4 \cdot 2 + 1$

$8+1$

$9$

By not using an equal sign when you simplify an expression, you may avoid confusing expressions with equations.

SIMPLIFY AN EXPRESSION

To simplify an expression, do all operations in the expression.

We’ve introduced most of the symbols and notation used in algebra, but now we need to clarify the order of operations. Otherwise, expressions may have different meanings, and they may result in different values.

For example, consider the expression $4+3 \cdot 7$. Some students simplify this getting $49$, by adding $4+3$ and then multiplying that result by $7$. Others get $25$, by multiplying $3 \cdot 7$ first and then adding $4$.

The same expression should give the same result. So mathematicians established some guidelines that are called the order of operations.

HOW TO: Use the order of operations.

  1. Parentheses and Other Grouping Symbols
    • Simplify all expressions inside the parentheses or other grouping symbols, working on the innermost parentheses first.
  2. Exponents
    • Simplify all expressions with exponents.
  3. Multiplication and Division
    • Perform all multiplication and division in order from left to right. These operations have equal priority.
  4. Addition and Subtraction
    • Perform all addition and subtraction in order from left to right. These operations have equal priority.

Students often ask, “How will I remember the order?” Here is a way to help you remember: Take the first letter of each key word and substitute the silly phrase “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”.

ParenthesesPlease
ExponentsExcuse
Multiplication DivisionMy Dear
Addition SubtractionAunt Sally

It’s good that “MDear” goes together, as this reminds us that multiplication and division have equal priority. We do not always do multiplication before division or always do division before multiplication. We do them in order from left to right.

Similarly, “Aunt Sally” goes together and so reminds us that addition and subtraction also have equal priority and we do them in order from left to right.

Example 4

Simplify: $18 \div 6 + 4(5-2)$.

Solution

$18 \div 6 +4(5-2)$
Parentheses? Yes, subtract first.$18 \div 6+4(3)$
Exponents? No.
Multiplication or division? Yes.
Divide first because we multiply and divide left to right.$3+4(3)$
Any other multiplication or division? Yes.
Multiply.$3+12$
Any other multiplication of division? No.
Any addition or subtraction? Yes.
Add.$15$

When there are multiple grouping symbols, we simplify the innermost parentheses first and work outward.

Example 5

Simplify: $5+2^{3} +3[6-3(4-2)]$

Solution

$5+2^{3} +3[6-3(4-2)]$
Are there any parentheses (or other
grouping symbols)? Yes.
$5+2^{3} +3[6-3(4-2)]$
Focus on the parentheses that are inside the
brackets. Subtract.
$5+2^{3} +3[6-3(2)]$
Continue inside the brackets and multiply.$5+2^{3} +3[6-6]$
Continue inside the brackets and subtract.$5+2^{3} +3[0]$
The expression inside the brackets requires
no further simplification.
Are there any exponents? Yes. Simplify exponents.$5+8 +3[0]$
Is there any multiplication or division? Yes.
Multiply.$5+8+0$
Is there any addition of subtraction? Yes.
Add.$13+0$
Add.$13$

1.1.4 Evaluate an Expression

In the last few examples, we simplified expressions using the order of operations. Now we’ll evaluate some expressions—again following the order of operations. To evaluate an expression means to find the value of the expression when the variable is replaced by a given number.

EVALUATE AN EXPRESSION

To evaluate an expression means to find the value of the expression when the variable is replaced by a given number.

To evaluate an expression, substitute that number for the variable in the expression and then simplify the expression.

Example 6

Evaluate when $x=4$:

  • $x^2$
  • $3^{x}$
  • $2x^{2} +3x+8$
Solution

Part 1.

$x^{2}$
Replace $x$ whith $4$$4^{2}$
Use definition of exponent.$4 \cdot 4$
Simplify.$16$

Part 2.

$3^{x}$
Replace $x$ whith $4$$3^{4}$
Use definition of exponent.$3 \cdot 3 \cdot 3 \cdot 3$
Simplify.$81$

Part 3.

$2x^{2} +3x+8$
Replace $x$ whith $4$$2(4)^{2} + 3(4)+8$
Follow the order of operations.$2(16)+3(4)+8$
$32+12+8$
$52$

1.1.5 Identify and Combine Like Terms

Algebraic expressions are made up of terms. A term is a constant, or the product of a constant and one or more variables.

TERM

term is a constant or the product of a constant and one or more variables.

Examples of terms are $7,y,5x^{2},9a,$ and $b^{5}$.

The constant that multiplies the variable is called the coefficient.

COEFFICIENT

The coefficient of a term is the constant that multiplies the variable in a term.

Think of the coefficient as the number in front of the variable. The coefficient of the term $3x$ is $3$. When we write $x$, the coefficient is $1$, since $x=1 \cdot x$.

Some terms share common traits. When two terms are constants or have the same variable and exponent, we say they are like terms.

Look at the following $6$ terms. Which ones seem to have traits in common?

$5x \ \ \ \ 7 \ \ \ \ n^{2} \ \ \ \ 4 \ \ \ \ 3x \ \ \ \ 9n^{2}$

We say,

$7$ and $4$ are like terms.

$5x$ and $3x$ are like terms.

$n^{2}$ and $9n^{2}$ are like terms.

LIKE TERMS

Terms that are either constants or have the same variables raised to the same powers are called like terms.

If there are like terms in an expression, you can simplify the expression by combining the like terms. We add the coefficients and keep the same variable.

Simplify.$4x+7x+x$
Add the coefficients.$12x$

Example 7

How To Combine LIke Terms

Simplify: $2x^{2} + 3x + 7 +x^{2} + 4x + 5$.

Solution
Step 1 is to identify the like terms in 2 x squared plus 3 x plus 7 plus x squared plus 4 x plus 5. The like terms are 2 x squared and x squared, then 3 x and 4 x, then 7 and 5.
Step 2 is to rearrange the expression so the like terms are together. Hence, we have 2 x squared plus x squared plus 3 x plus 4 x plus 7 plus 5.
Step 3 is to combine the like terms to get 3 x squared plus 7 x plus 12.

HOW TO: Combine like terms.

  1. Identify like terms.
  2. Rearrange the expression so like terms are together.
  3. Add or subtract the coefficients and keep the same variable for each group of like terms.

1.1.6 Translate an English Phrase to an Algebraic Expression

We listed many operation symbols that are used in algebra. Now, we will use them to translate English phrases into algebraic expressions. The symbols and variables we’ve talked about will help us do that. Table 1.2 summarizes them.

OperationPhraseExpression
Addition$a$ plus $b$
the sum of $a$ and $b$
$a$ increased by $b$
$b$ more than $a$
the total of $a$ and $b$
$b$ added to $a$
$a+b$
Subtraction$a$ minus $b$
the difference of $a$ and $b$
$a$ decreased by $b$
$b$ less than $a$
$b$ subtracted from $a$
$a-b$
Multiplication$a$ times $b$
the product of $a$ and $b$
twice $a$
$a \cdot b, ab, a(b),(a)(b)$
$2a$
Division$a$ divided by $b$
the quotient of $a$ and $b$
the ratio of $a$ and $b$
$b$ divided into $a$
$a \div b, a/b, \frac{a}{b} , b \overline{)a}$
Table 1.2

Look closely at these phrases using the four operations:

The sum of a and b, the difference of a and b, the product of a and b, the quotient of a and b.

Each phrase tells us to operate on two numbers. Look for the words of and and to find the numbers.

Example 8

Translate each English phrase into an algebraic expression:

  • the difference of $14x$ and $9$
  • the quotient of $8y^{2}$ and $3$
  • twelve more than $y$
  • seven less than $49x^{2}$
Solution

Part 1.

The key word is difference, which tells us the operation is subtraction. Look for the words of and and to find the numbers to subtract.

The difference of 14 x and 9, 14 x minus 9.

Part 2.

The key word is quotient, which tells us the operation is division.

The quotient of 8 y squared and 3, divide 8 y squared by 3, 8 y squared divided by 3. This can also be written as 8 y squared slash 3 or 8 y squared upon 3.

Part 3.

The key words are more than. They tell us the operation is addition. More than means “added to.”

twelve more than $y$

twelve added to $y$

$y+12$

Part 4.

The key words are less than. They tell us to subtract. Less than means “subtracted from.”

seven less than $49x^{2}$

seven subtracted from $49x^{2}$

$49x^{2} -7$

We look carefully at the words to help us distinguish between multiplying a sum and adding a product.

Example 9

Translate the English phrase into an algebraic expression:

  • eight times the sum of $x$ and $y$
  • the sum of eight times $x$ and $y$
Solution

There are two operation words—times tells us to multiply and sum tells us to add.

Part 1. Because we are multiplying $8$ times the sum, we need parentheses around the sum of $x$ and $y$, $(x+y)$. This forces us to determine the sum first. (Remember the order of operations.)

eight times the sum of $x$ and $y$

$8(x+y)$

Part 2. To take a sum, we look for the words of and and to see what is being added. Here we are taking the sum of eight times x and y.

the sum of eight times $x$ and $y$

$8x+y$

Later in this course, we’ll apply our skills in algebra to solving applications. The first step will be to translate an English phrase to an algebraic expression. We’ll see how to do this in the next two examples.

Example 10

The length of a rectangle is $14$ less than the width. Let $w$ represent the width of the rectangle. Write an expression for the length of the rectangle.

Solution

Write a phrase about the length of the rectangle.$14$ less than the width
Substitute $w$ for “the width”$w$
Rewrite less than as subtracted from.$14$ subtracted from $w$
Translate the phrase into algebra.$w-14$

The expressions in the next example will be used in the typical coin mixture problems we will see soon.

Example 11

June has dimes and quarters in her purse. The number of dimes is seven less than four times the number of quarters. Let $q$ represent the number of quarters. Write an expression for the number of dimes.

Solution

Write a phrase about the number of dimes.seven less than four times the number of quarters
Substitute $q$ for the number of quarters.$7$ less than $4$ times $q$
Translate $4$ times $q$.$7$ less than $4q$
Translate the phrase into algebra.$4q-7$
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