Translating Words Into Expressions
General Explanation
In order to use algebra to solve word problems, we need to learn how to express
English phrases in the symbols and operations of algebra. We should also be able to recognize in an algebraic equation the words
from which it might have come.
Here is how to translate an English phrase into algebra:
ADDITION
Different phrases can be used for addition. Here are some phrases that are equivalent to the algebraic expression "b + 5".
SUBTRACTION
Subtraction can be expressed with different phrases. The following phrases are equivalent to the algebraic expression "y  4".
MULTIPLICATION
Certain phrases can be used for multiplication. These phrases are equivalent to the algebraic expression "3y".
DIVISION
The phrases below are equivalent to the algebraic expression "12 ÷ x"
Sample Problem
What algebraic expression is equivalent to the English expression below:
The quantity P increased by the quantity Q plus R Solution
To find an equivalent expression, look at the above expression piece by piece.
