How to Solve Inequalities

•••, Vanessa Graulich, I Hate Math Group, Inc

Inequalities are similar to equations, you have to solve for a variable (X, Y, Z , A, B, etc...), the main difference is that with an equation you are solving for only one value (X=3, Z=4, A=-9, etc) with an inequality you are solving for a range of numbers, that means that you variable can be a number greater than, less than, greater or equal than to, less or equal than to...

For Example: If X > 3 (X is greater than 3) , X can be any value from 3.1, 3.2, 5, 7, 900, 1000 and so on.

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    Inequalities Symbols

    Let's remember the symbols for inequalities

    Greater than >
    Less than < Greater than or equal to ≥ Less than or equal to ≤

    Solve the inequality like a regular equation

    We have the inequality 3(X-4) ≤ X - 6. Let's solve for "X" , that means to leave "X" alone. We can solve this like a regular equation.

    Solve the Parenthesis

    First we need to remember PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally). We have to solve for the parenthesis. Let's multiply 3 times X, and 3 times -4

    Move the variables to the left side

    Once we do the parenthesis, 3x - 12 ≤ X -6, let's move the "X" from the right to the left side, we do this by adding "X" to both sides.

    Move the numbers to the right side

    Our inequality looks like this 2X - 12 ≤ X -6. Now we have to move -12 from the left to the right side, let's add 12 to both sides.

    Divide by 2 both sides

    Our main goal is to leave "X" alone, 2 is multiplying X, let's eliminate him from the left side by dividing both sides by 2

    Final Answer

    Our result is X ≤ 3, that means that the value of X has to be a number less than or equal to the number 3. For example 3, 2, 1, 0 -1, -2, -3 and so on. We can also write our answer like this (-∞, 3], we use always parenthesis for the infinitive symbol , and we use a bracket because our inequality is less than or equal to. If our equation was 3(X-4) < X -6, then our answer would be ( -∞, 3) with a parenthesis, this means that X can not be 3, it has to be less than 3, for example 2.99, 2.50, 0, -1, -2, -3 . Conclusion. If you have an inequality with the equal symbol (≤≥) , you have to use the bracket [], if you have the inequality without the equal symbol (<>), then you have to use parenthesis ()

    Things You'll Need

    • PEN
    • PAPER


    • Check our other articles about how to solve equations if you are having trouble solving for "X" Understand the inequality symbols If you divide by a negative number both sides, your inequality symbol will flip to the opposite side. For Example: -3X>6, -3X/-3 > 6/ -3, then X<-2, if you have doubts, just plug your answer and make sure makes sense, in our example X has to be less than -2 , so -3(-3) > 6, 9> 6, if you do not flip the inequality then your answer would be wrong.

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  •, Vanessa Graulich, I Hate Math Group, Inc