Algebraic Vocabulary

In order to fully grasp the concepts that we deal with in the topic of Algebra, we need to understand a handful of key terms:

  • Constant – A value or number that never changes in an equation e.g. 4 is a constant because it is a value that doesn’t change.
  • Equation – A grouping of terms or values that use a sign to show an equal relationship e.g.69ab=69 is an equation.
  • Exponent A small number written on the right-hand side, above a number or variable often referred to as a ‘power’. It could also be written as { a }^{ b } where b is the exponent e.g. in the term 5^2, 2 is the exponent.
  • ExpressionAny combination of values and operations that can be used to show how things belong together and compare to one another e.g. 80ef+4g is an expression. Always remember, expressions do not have an equal sign.
  • Factor To change two or more terms to just one term so that you can perform other processes e.g. 20a+6b+50c=2(10a+3b+25c).
  • Operation An action performed upon one or two numbers to produce a resulting number e.g. multiplication, addition, subtraction, division, square root, and more.
  • Simplify To combine all that can be combined by collecting like-terms, putting the equation its simplest form e.g. 11a+3a+6a+3b=20a+3b.
  • Solve To work out or find the answer to.
  • Term A grouping together of one or more factors which include numbers and/or variables e.g. 5tu is a term and the expression 5tu+9 has 2 terms.
  • Variable Often referred to as letters that are represented as unknown numbers e.g. in the term 24t, t is the variable as it is a value that does not have a fixed value.