When you encounter equations in maths, you’ll often see brackets involved. Brackets serve a particular role in equations: they help clarify the order of operations.
Inside the brackets, operations are performed first. You’ll often come across the term ‘distributing’. In this context. distributing means you multiply the number outside the bracket with each term inside the bracket.
Let’s consider an example: .
To remove the brackets, you’ll need to distribute the 2 across both x and 3. This turns the equation into , simplifying to .
For equations with more than one set of brackets, like , you distribute each number outside the brackets across the terms inside it.
Doing so results in . After distributing, combine like terms.
In the example above, after distributing the numbers outside the brackets, you get . The next step is to combine like terms on each side of the equation, turning it into .
After you’ve removed brackets and combined like terms, it’s business as usual. Solve for the variable, , just like you would for simpler equations.
In our example, , so . It’s always good to substitute your answer back into the original equation to make sure it’s correct.
What happens if you have a negative number or a fraction outside the bracket? Let’s say you have . The principle remains the same; distribute the -2 to each term inside the bracket to get . From there, solve for x as you normally would.