Feedback Q&A on Algebra

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 68 comments and questions on Algebra issues. They are listed according to date.

List of most recent 10 letters

Country

Product of Two Negative Numbers is Positive Product of Two Negative Numbers India

General Solving single variable equations India

Multiplication with Exponents Multiply terms with different base USA

Division with Exponents Raise number to the zero power Canada

Variables and Constants Solving a problem USA

Purpose Why are letters used in equations? Nigeria

Variables and Constants Formula without constant and variable UAE

Variables and Constants Is zero a variable? India

Multiplication with Exponents 5^6 times 8^6 USA

Variables and Constants Where did naming conventions come from? Australia

Next 10

Product of Two Negative Numbers

Topic: Product of Two Negative Numbers is Positive

Question

May 5, 2018

why we take x= ab+(-a)(b)+(-a)(-b)=ab
because (-a)(-b)is already a question to proof

MANISH - India

28544

(-a)(b) = -ab
(-a)(-b) = +ab
ab + (-ab) = 0
Thus ab+(-a)(b)+(-a)(-b)= ab

Solving single variable equations

Topic: General

Question

March 31, 2018

If k is constant can we find solutions to single variable equations

Vidi - India

28493

"k" will be involved in solutions to the equations. See: Solving an Algebraic Linear Equation with One Variable for information.

Multiply terms with different base

Topic: Multiplication with Exponents

Question

November 3, 2017

I need to find out how to multiply terms with different base and exponents but i looked online and nothing shows up something like this. XY* in a radical multiplied by x*y to the third power inside a radical. Please help it feels hopeless right now

Lester - USA

28307

I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to do. Are you trying to multiply something like (2^3)(5^2)?

Raise number to the zero power

Topic: Division with Exponents

Question

October 16, 2017

(3x^-3)^0

Does the exponent -3 x 0 = 0?

28290

Any number raised to the zero power equals 1. For example x^0 = 1.

Thus (3x^-3)^0 = 1

Solving a problem

Topic: Variables and Constants

Question

March 28, 2017

kindly solve for me an algebra problem that is similar to the problem below and give me a step by step procedures:
b=ka+3, k is a constant, if the possible solutions are in the forms (a, b) is (2,3) a solution to the equation?

moifee - USA

27967

What are you trying to find a solution for? a, b, or k?

If a = 2 and b = 3, then 3 = 2k + 3, and k = 0. But I don't think that is what you are looking for.

Why are letters used in equations?

Topic: Purpose

Question

March 11, 2017

why did they choose to use letter of alphabets or other symbols as a subject of the formular when numbers can still serve and is even easier to be used in rounding up calculation?

Chidi - Nigeria

27935

Numbers are used in specific cases. The letters of the alphabet are considered variables, such that the equation or formula can be used with any numbers.

See Variables and Constants in Algebra for an explanation.

Formula without constant and variable

Topic: Variables and Constants

Question

March 1, 2017

Using formula without constant and Variable is right or wrong.(4-9/2)square 2 please clear it.thanks

Jamil - UAE

27918

Just having numbers in the expression is simply an arithmetic exercise. What you have written is (4 - 9/2)^2, which would be (-1/2)^2 = 1/4.

Is zero a variable?

Topic: Variables and Constants

Question

February 13, 2017

0 is variable or constant

Chandra - India

27877

Since zero (0) does not change, it is a constant and part of the number system.

5^6 times 8^6

Topic: Multiplication with Exponents

Question

January 31, 2017

hi, i have a question that is 5 to the 6th power times, 8 to the 6th power... how do i do this i asked everyone and they don't know how
thank you

noelle - USA

27847

5^6 (5 to the 6th power) times 8^6 = 40^6 (40 to the 6th power).

(5^6)*(8^6) = (5*5*5*5*5*5)*(8*8*8*8*8*8) = 40*40*40*40*40*40 = 40^6

In general, (x^a)*(y^a) = (xy)^a

Where did naming conventions come from?

Topic: Variables and Constants

Question

August 9, 2016

Ron - from this abc usually constants and xyz variables, but any idea why linear algebra use ith and jth for row and column and then refers to a 2x3 matrix as an mxn matrix. Was wondering if ijkmn arent used so much - or could it be m for myrian and n for numberth nth - even non maths people know what to the nth degreee means? But I is often used for interest as is r for rate. K is most often a specific constant. n I can understand to the last n number but m has me stuck - unless it is like a-z m to n?

TIMOTHY - Australia

27199

That is a puzzler. I haven't been able to find where the conventions for naming constants, variables, table rows and columns, and nth degree come from.

There must be some rationale hidden in the archives of mathematical history.

If you ever find out, let me know.

Next 10

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