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.
Laugh a little with these jokes
1. While working on his project in a computer lab at a university, a student saw his computer monitor showing: Please use the next available Window(s) (PC).
2. Why is a man holding up the check-out lane at a grocery store? He is waiting for his Fat free as the cheese packaging says.
3. Why did 18 math major students go to see a movie? Because the sign said Under 18 not allowed to watch the movie.
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Random educational tips
1. The next time you take a multiple-choice test, remember to guess correctly if you don't know the answer. With random guessing, you are likely to pick an answer that is incorrect. A wiser approach is to make an educated guess. With this approach you start by eliminating answer choices that you know are wrong (or not part of the answer). The remaining choices contain the answer to the question. So picking an answer from these choices gives you a better chance of the right answer.
2. Is library your friend? It should be. Learn to do your research in your school library. Chances are you will find more accurate and complete information in the library than what you will find on the internet. This does not mean you should not use internet but just don't forget to use the physical library as well.