How to Do Linear Equations in Math

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A single variable linear equation is an equation with one variable and no square roots or powers. Linear equations can have addition, subtraction, multiplication and division functions. Solving an equation means to find a value for the variable, which you do by getting the variable by itself on one side of the equation. Learning to solve a linear equation will give you a basic understanding of algebra so that you'll be able to handle more complex equations later.

    Identify the variable, the constant and the functions used on the left side of equation. The variable in a linear equation is a letter that represents an unknown number, and constants are the numbers in the equation. For example, in the equation 2x + 6 = 8, the variable is x, the constants are 2 and 6, and the functions used are multiplication and addition. When a number multiplies a variable, it is called a coefficient. In this case, the coefficient is 2.

    Undo the functions applied to the constant, by applying the opposite function in equal value to the constants. So, if the equation uses addition, you use subtraction; if it uses multiplication, you use division. If multiple functions are used, you have to undo them in the correct order. Undo addition or subtraction, then multiplication or division. Using the example equation, you would subtract 6 from both sides to get the equation 2x =2. Now you divide both 2x and 2 by 2 to get x=1.

    Check your answer by substituting your answer for the variable. If the equation is true with your substituted answer, then you know you have the right value for the variable. In the example, you found that x=1, so you would replace x with 1 to get 2(1) + 6 = 8.

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