Math Homework. Do It Faster, Learn It Better.

Word Problems Involving One-Step Linear Equations

It's not always easy to tell what kind of equation a word problem involves, until you start translating it to math symbols.

Words like "together," "altogether," or "combined" often indicate that the problem involves addition. The word "left," as in "he had x amount left," often indicates subtraction.

Example 1:

In one day's work at the nursery, Dale and Mary together potted 74 plants. If Dale potted 48 , how many did Mary pot?

Here the unknown is m , the number that Mary potted. The equation is:

48 + m = 74

This can be solved using subtraction.

When the linear equation requires multiplication or division, you'll often find words like "times as many," "for each," or "for every."


Example 2:

For every subscription she sells, Janelle earns a $ 125 commission. If she earned $ 1750 last month in commissions, how many subscriptions did she sell?

Here the unknown is x , the number of subscriptions sold. The equation is:

125 x = 1750

This can be solved by dividing both sides by 125 .