You are on page 1of 4

Equations and inequalities

Introduction
An equation is formed when two algebraic expressions are set equal to each other by equal sign =.
A linear equation is an equation the highest degree one the highest exponent on the variable is positive
one. In linear equations, there is no negative exponent nor rational (radical) powers.

If an equation can be written the form + = 0 or = , the equation is linear.

Numerical equations can be true or false but equations with variables cannot be true or false unless we
know the value of the variable. In the table below are examples of equations. The equations in the
columns one and two are numerical and those in column three are variable equations.

True equation false equation Neither true or false


2+3=5 2+35 x+3=5
5-7=-1 34=10 2x+3=6-x
These equations can be true if and only if we are given the value of
x. the first is true if and only if x=2 and the other if and only if
x=1.

We will be dealing with linear equations in one variable.


In our early stages of our education (Kindergarten), we were introduced to equations in the form of
1. 3 + =6
2. 3 5 =
3. 4=2
4. 4 =8
Where we were to fill in the boxes. The boxes were changed and replaced by letters (variables) as we
progress on our education ladder.
The above equations representing the boxes by letters (variables):
1. 3+x=6
2. 35=y
3. z4=2
4. 4t=8
The boxes and variables serve as a placeholder, they hold the place of an unknown number which we are
required to solve for.
In equation 1, the only number which will result a sum of 6, when added to 3 is 3, (3+3 = 6)
In equation 2, taking away 5 from 3 results is -2 or the difference is 2, (3 5 = - 2)
Similarly, z 4 = 2, implies that z = 8, the only number which when divided by 4 to produce a quotient of
2 is 8
Lastly t = 2, the only number which is multiply by 4 to give a product of 8.
Now we are going to solve the equations, following the algebraic and arithmetic algorithms (procedures
or methods)
1. 3 + = 6
Equivalent way of writing this is = 6 3, how to get this?
In dealing with equations, it is assumed that both terms on the opposite sides of = are equal. To
maintain the equality, we can do one of the following at a time
i. Add the same number to both sides of =, y=4 is equivalent to y+3=4+3.
ii. Subtract the same number from both sides of =, 3+x=6 is equivalent to 3+x-3=6-3.
iii. Divide each term on both sides of = by the same number, 4t+1=9 is equivalent to
(4t4)+(14)=94.
1 1
iv. Multiply each term by the same number on both sides of =, 2 = 4 is equivalent to
1 1
4 =44
2 4
v. In short, what you do at the right side of = do the same to left side.
Now we proceed to solve the problems.
1. 3 + x = 6
3 3 + x =6 3, subtract 3 from both sides of = in order to isolate x on one side of the equation.
x=63
x=3

2. 3 5 = y,
y=-2

3. z 4 = 2

=2
4

4 (4) = 4 2, multiply each term on both sides by 4
=42
z=8

4. 4 t = 8
4t = 8
4 8
4
= 4, divide each term on both sides of =
8
=
4
t=2
Solution is a number which when substitute for the variable will make the equation true. For instance in
example 4, t = 2 is the solution since 42=8.
Example 1
Solve for x in 3x 5 = 5+x
Solution
We want to isolate the unknown on one side of the equation.
Subtract x from both sides and simplify.
(3x 5) x = (5+x) x
3x x 5 = 5 +x x
2x 5 = 5
Add 5 to both sides and simplify
(2x 5) + 5 = 5 + 5
2x 5+5 = 5+5
2x = 10
Divide each term by 2 (or multiply each term by )
1 1
2 = 10
2 2
2 10
=
2 2
=5
Example 2
Find the solution set of 5 2 = 6 + 21
Solution
5 2 = 6 + 21
Change sides (swap sides)
6 + 21 = 5 2
Add 2x to both sides
2 + (6 + 21) = 2 + (5 2)

2 + 6 + 21 = 5 + 2 2
8 + 21 = 5
Add -21 to both sides
21 + (8 + 21) = 21 + 5
8 21 + 21 = 5 21
8 = 16
Multiply each term by 1/8
1/8 8 = 1/8 16
= 2
Solution set = {x:x = - 2}
Alternative method

5 2 = 6 + 21
Subtract 6x from both sides
5 2 6 = 6 + 21 6
5 8 = 21
Subtract 5 from both sides
5 8 5 = 21 5
8 = 16
Divide each term by 8
8 16
=
8 8
= 2
Equations containing parenthesis and other brackets
When dealing with equations follow the principle of BODMAS or BEDMAS. B=Brackets, O = Of,
D=Division, E=Exponent, M=Multiplication, A=Addition and S=Subtraction. The concept of BODMAS
is, in solving for equations, follow the letters in their respective order. That is B followed by O, D, M, A
and finally S.
Example 3.
Solve for y in 3 5(3 ) = 1
Solution