Understanding meaning of the mathematical expressions
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When solving mathematical problems, it is essential to know the meaning of the expressions you see on a test or a homework problem. If you don’t understand the meaning of the expression, you won’t be able to correctly do the problem. This post covers meaning behind equality and the four basic mathematical expressions: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
This is about having equal or same parts. An equal symbol (=) is used to indicate equality, in mathematics. Following are some of the mathematical expression meaning equality:
- x is equal to y
- x is equivalent to y
- x is the same y
Each of these expressions means both x and y are equal or equivalent.
In mathematics, when we are talking about adding, we are talking about increasing. Increasing what and why how much is indicated in the problem. Observe the following expressions:
- total of x and y
- sum of x and y
- x added to y
- x increased by y
These mathematical expressions mean add x to y or x + y. A plus sign (+) indicates an addition operation.
In mathematics, subtraction is about reducing or making less. Again, as for addition, what you are reducing and by how much are dependent on the mathematical problem. The following are some of the mathematical expressions you may encounter while working with subtractions:
- x less y
- x minus y
- the difference between x and y
- from x subtract y
- x decreased by y
- x diminished by y
These mathematical expressions mean subtract y from x or x - y. A sign indicating subtraction is -.
With multiplication in general the result is increased, just with addition. The result depends on what your mathematical expression. Here are mathematical expressions that all mean the same:
- x multiplied by y
- the product of x and y
In each of the above expressions, the meaning is that we want to multiply x by y, or x * y. * or X indicate multiplication.
Division is similar to a subtraction operation in the sense that they both in general produce a lower (not the lowest!) resulting value than the numbers used for the carrying out the operations. 12 - 4 = 8 and 12 / 4 =3 is a good example of this statement. Here are some expressions indicating division operations:
- x divided by y
- the quotient of x and y
÷ and / indicate division.
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Random educational tips
1. Major. This is the word you will encounter many times in your college years. If you don't have a major, you will be asked to declare it sooner or later in college. If you need help in choosing a major, ask your academic advisor. Think about what interests you and what kind of job you are planning to work on. Understand a major does not necessarily dictate your future job or career path. This does not however mean you should not have a major. Having decided on your major will help you focus on how to excel in that particular program.
2. How do you make your assignments easier for yourself? By knowing or practicing more about the subject. If it is a math class, try solving problems and perhaps more of them than required. If you are asked to do odd-numbered problems, try even-numbered problems as well, for instance. This will help you do better on the exam. The more you know and more you work with the class material, easier it will become to complete exams, projects, presentations, and other assignments.