Learning Objectives
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
 Solve equations using the Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality
 Solve equations that need to be simplified
 Translate an equation and solve
 Translate and solve applications
Be Prepared 8.1
Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.
Solve: $n12=16.$
If you missed this problem, review Example 2.33.
Be Prepared 8.2
Translate into algebra ‘five less than $x\text{.\u2019}$
If you missed this problem, review Example 2.24.
Be Prepared 8.3
Is $x=2$ a solution to $5x3=7?$
If you missed this problem, review Example 2.28.
We are now ready to “get to the good stuff.” You have the basics down and are ready to begin one of the most important topics in algebra: solving equations. The applications are limitless and extend to all careers and fields. Also, the skills and techniques you learn here will help improve your critical thinking and problemsolving skills. This is a great benefit of studying mathematics and will be useful in your life in ways you may not see right now.
Solve Equations Using the Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality
We began our work solving equations in previous chapters. It has been a while since we have seen an equation, so we will review some of the key concepts before we go any further.
We said that solving an equation is like discovering the answer to a puzzle. The purpose in solving an equation is to find the value or values of the variable that make each side of the equation the same. Any value of the variable that makes the equation true is called a solution to the equation. It is the answer to the puzzle.
Solution of an Equation
A solution of an equation is a value of a variable that makes a true statement when substituted into the equation.
In the earlier sections, we listed the steps to determine if a value is a solution. We restate them here.
How To
Determine whether a number is a solution to an equation.
 Step 1. Substitute the number for the variable in the equation.
 Step 2. Simplify the expressions on both sides of the equation.
 Step 3.
Determine whether the resulting equation is true.
 If it is true, the number is a solution.
 If it is not true, the number is not a solution.
Example 8.1
Determine whether $y=\frac{3}{4}$ is a solution for $4y+3=8y.$
Solution
Multiply.  
Add. 
Since $y=\frac{3}{4}$ results in a true equation, $\frac{3}{4}$ is a solution to the equation $4y+3=8y.$
Try It 8.1
Is $y=\frac{2}{3}$ a solution for $9y+2=6y?$
Try It 8.2
Is $y=\frac{2}{5}$ a solution for $5y3=10y?$
We introduced the Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality in Solving Equations Using the Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality. In that section, we modeled how these properties work and then applied them to solving equations with whole numbers. We used these properties again each time we introduced a new system of numbers. Let’s review those properties here.
Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality
Subtraction Property of Equality
For all real numbers $a,b,$ and $c,$ if $a=b,$ then $ac=bc.$
Addition Property of Equality
For all real numbers $a,b,$ and $c,$ if $a=b,$ then $a+c=b+c.$
When you add or subtract the same quantity from both sides of an equation, you still have equality.
We introduced the Subtraction Property of Equality earlier by modeling equations with envelopes and counters. Figure 8.2 models the equation $x+3=8.$
The goal is to isolate the variable on one side of the equation. So we ‘took away’ $3$ from both sides of the equation and found the solution $x=5.$
Some people picture a balance scale, as in Figure 8.3, when they solve equations.
The quantities on both sides of the equal sign in an equation are equal, or balanced. Just as with the balance scale, whatever you do to one side of the equation you must also do to the other to keep it balanced.
Let’s review how to use Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality to solve equations. We need to isolate the variable on one side of the equation. And we check our solutions by substituting the value into the equation to make sure we have a true statement.
Example 8.2
Solve: $x11=\mathrm{3}.$
Solution
To isolate $x,$ we undo the addition of $11$ by using the Subtraction Property of Equality.
We "undo" the subtraction of 11 by adding 11 to each side.  
Simplify.  
Check:  
Substitute $x=8$.  
Since $x=8$ makes $x11=\mathrm{3}$ a true statement, we know that it is a solution to the equation.
Try It 8.3
Solve: $x+9=\mathrm{7}.$
Try It 8.4
Solve: $x+16=\mathrm{4}.$
In the original equation in the previous example, $11$ was added to the $x$, so we subtracted $11$ to ‘undo’ the addition. In the next example, we will need to ‘undo’ subtraction by using the Addition Property of Equality.
Example 8.3
Solve: $m+4=\mathrm{5}.$
Solution
Subtract 4 from each side to "undo" the addition.  
Simplify.  
Check:  
Substitute $m=\mathrm{9}$.  
The solution to $m4=\mathrm{5}$ is $m=\mathrm{1}$. 
Try It 8.5
Solve: $n6=\mathrm{7}.$
Try It 8.6
Solve: $x5=\mathrm{9}.$
Now let’s review solving equations with fractions.
Example 8.4
Solve: $n\frac{3}{8}=\frac{1}{2}.$
Solution
Use the Addition Property of Equality.  
Find the LCD to add the fractions on the right.  
Simplify  
Check:  
Subtract.  
Simplify.  
The solution checks. 
Try It 8.7
Solve: $p\frac{1}{3}=\frac{5}{6}.$
Try It 8.8
Solve: $q\frac{1}{2}=\frac{1}{6}.$
In Solve Equations with Decimals, we solved equations that contained decimals. We’ll review this next.
Example 8.5
Solve $a3.7=4.3.$
Solution
Use the Addition Property of Equality.  
Add.  
Check:  
Substitute $a=8$.  
Simplify.  
The solution checks. 
Try It 8.9
Solve: $b2.8=3.6.$
Try It 8.10
Solve: $c6.9=7.1.$
Solve Equations That Need to Be Simplified
In the examples up to this point, we have been able to isolate the variable with just one operation. Many of the equations we encounter in algebra will take more steps to solve. Usually, we will need to simplify one or both sides of an equation before using the Subtraction or Addition Properties of Equality. You should always simplify as much as possible before trying to isolate the variable.
Example 8.6
Solve: $3x72x4=1.$
Solution
The left side of the equation has an expression that we should simplify before trying to isolate the variable.
Rearrange the terms, using the Commutative Property of Addition.  
Combine like terms.  
Add 11 to both sides to isolate $x$.  
Simplify.  
Check. Substitute $x=12$ into the original equation. 
The solution checks.
Try It 8.11
Solve: $8y47y7=4.$
Try It 8.12
Solve: $6z+55z4=3.$
Example 8.7
Solve: $3(n4)2n=\mathrm{3}.$
Solution
The left side of the equation has an expression that we should simplify.
Distribute on the left.  
Use the Commutative Property to rearrange terms.  
Combine like terms.  
Isolate n using the Addition Property of Equality.  
Simplify.  
Check. Substitute $n=9$ into the original equation. The solution checks. 
Try It 8.13
Solve: $5(p3)4p=\mathrm{10}.$
Try It 8.14
Solve: $4(q+2)3q=\mathrm{8}.$
Example 8.8
Solve: $2(3k1)5k=\mathrm{2}7.$
Solution
Both sides of the equation have expressions that we should simplify before we isolate the variable.
Distribute on the left, subtract on the right.  
Use the Commutative Property of Addition.  
Combine like terms.  
Undo subtraction by using the Addition Property of Equality.  
Simplify.  
Check. Let $k=\mathrm{7}.$ The solution checks. 
Try It 8.15
Solve: $4(2h3)7h=\mathrm{6}7.$
Try It 8.16
Solve: $2(5x+2)9x=\mathrm{2}+7.$
Translate an Equation and Solve
In previous chapters, we translated word sentences into equations. The first step is to look for the word (or words) that translate(s) to the equal sign. Table 8.1 reminds us of some of the words that translate to the equal sign.
Equals (=)  

is  is equal to  is the same as  the result is  gives  was  will be 
Let’s review the steps we used to translate a sentence into an equation.
How To
Translate a word sentence to an algebraic equation.
 Step 1. Locate the "equals" word(s). Translate to an equal sign.
 Step 2. Translate the words to the left of the "equals" word(s) into an algebraic expression.
 Step 3. Translate the words to the right of the "equals" word(s) into an algebraic expression.
Now we are ready to try an example.
Example 8.9
Translate and solve: five more than $x$ is equal to $26.$
Solution
Translate.  
Subtract 5 from both sides.  
Simplify.  
Check: Is $26$ five more than $21$? The solution checks. 
Try It 8.17
Translate and solve: Eleven more than $x$ is equal to $41.$
Try It 8.18
Translate and solve: Twelve less than $y$ is equal to $51.$
Example 8.10
Translate and solve: The difference of $5p$ and $4p$ is $23.$
Solution
Translate.  
Simplify.  
Check: 

The solution checks. 
Try It 8.19
Translate and solve: The difference of $4x$ and $3x$ is $14.$
Try It 8.20
Translate and solve: The difference of $7a$ and $6a$ is $\mathrm{8}.$
Translate and Solve Applications
In most of the application problems we solved earlier, we were able to find the quantity we were looking for by simplifying an algebraic expression. Now we will be using equations to solve application problems. We’ll start by restating the problem in just one sentence, assign a variable, and then translate the sentence into an equation to solve. When assigning a variable, choose a letter that reminds you of what you are looking for.
Example 8.11
The Robles family has two dogs, Buster and Chandler. Together, they weigh $71$ pounds.
Chandler weighs $28$ pounds. How much does Buster weigh?
Solution
Read the problem carefully.  
Identify what you are asked to find, and choose a variable to represent it.  How much does Buster weigh? Let $b=$ Buster's weight 
Write a sentence that gives the information to find it.  Buster's weight plus Chandler's weight equals 71 pounds. 
We will restate the problem, and then include the given information.  Buster's weight plus 28 equals 71. 
Translate the sentence into an equation, using the variable $b$.  
Solve the equation using good algebraic techniques.  
Check the answer in the problem and make sure it makes sense.  
Is 43 pounds a reasonable weight for a dog? Yes. Does Buster's weight plus Chandler's weight equal 71 pounds?  
$43+28\stackrel{?}{=}71$  
$71=71\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\u2713$  
Write a complete sentence that answers the question, "How much does Buster weigh?"  Buster weighs 43 pounds 
Try It 8.21
Translate into an algebraic equation and solve: The Pappas family has two cats, Zeus and Athena. Together, they weigh $13$ pounds. Zeus weighs $6$ pounds. How much does Athena weigh?
Try It 8.22
Translate into an algebraic equation and solve: Sam and Henry are roommates. Together, they have $68$ books. Sam has $26$ books. How many books does Henry have?
How To
Devise a problemsolving strategy.
 Step 1. Read the problem. Make sure you understand all the words and ideas.
 Step 2. Identify what you are looking for.
 Step 3. Name what you are looking for. Choose a variable to represent that quantity.
 Step 4. Translate into an equation. It may be helpful to restate the problem in one sentence with all the important information. Then, translate the English sentence into an algebra equation.
 Step 5. Solve the equation using good algebra techniques.
 Step 6. Check the answer in the problem and make sure it makes sense.
 Step 7. Answer the question with a complete sentence.
Example 8.12
Shayla paid $\text{\$24,575}$ for her new car. This was $\text{\$875}$ less than the sticker price. What was the sticker price of the car?
Solution
What are you asked to find?  "What was the sticker price of the car?" 
Assign a variable.  Let $s=$ the sticker price of the car. 
Write a sentence that gives the information to find it.  $24,575 is $875 less than the sticker price $24,575 is $875 less than $s$ 
Translate into an equation.  
Solve.  
Check:  
Is $875 less than $25,450 equal to $24,575?  
$\mathrm{25,450}875\stackrel{?}{=}\mathrm{24,575}$  
$\mathrm{24,575}=\mathrm{24,575}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\u2713$  
Write a sentence that answers the question.  The sticker price was $25,450. 
Try It 8.23
Translate into an algebraic equation and solve: Eddie paid $\text{\$19,875}$ for his new car. This was $\text{\$1,025}$ less than the sticker price. What was the sticker price of the car?
Try It 8.24
Translate into an algebraic equation and solve: The admission price for the movies during the day is $\text{\$7.75}.$ This is $\text{\$3.25}$ less than the price at night. How much does the movie cost at night?
Practice Makes Perfect
Solve Equations Using the Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality
In the following exercises, determine whether the given value is a solution to the equation.
Is $x=\frac{3}{4}$ a solution of $5x+3=9x?$
Is $v=\mathrm{}\frac{1}{3}$ a solution of $9v2=3v?$
In the following exercises, solve each equation.
$y+5=\mathrm{6}$
$a+\frac{2}{5}=\frac{4}{5}$
$m+7.9=11.6$
$m8=\mathrm{20}$
$x\frac{1}{5}=4$
$y7.2=5$
$z+5.2=\mathrm{8.5}$
$p\frac{2}{5}=\frac{2}{3}$
Solve Equations that Need to be Simplified
In the following exercises, solve each equation.
$c+310=18$
$9x+58x+14=20$
$\mathrm{6}x11+7x5=\mathrm{16}$
$3(y5)2y=\mathrm{7}$
$8(u+1.5)7u=4.9$
$\mathrm{5}(y2)+6y=\mathrm{7}+4$
$3(5n1)14n+9=12$
$(j+2)+2j1=5$
$6a5(a2)+9=\mathrm{11}$
$8(4x+5)5(6x)x=53$
Translate to an Equation and Solve
In the following exercises, translate to an equation and then solve.
Five more than $x$ is equal to $21.$
Ten less than $m$ is $\mathrm{14}.$
The sum of $y$ and $\mathrm{3}$ is $40.$
The difference of $9x$ and $8x$ is $17.$
The difference of $n$ and $\frac{1}{6}$ is $\frac{1}{2}.$
The sum of $\mathrm{4}n$ and $5n$ is $\mathrm{32}.$
Translate and Solve Applications
In the following exercises, translate into an equation and solve.
Pilar drove from home to school and then to her aunt’s house, a total of $18$ miles. The distance from Pilar’s house to school is $7$ miles. What is the distance from school to her aunt’s house?
Jeff read a total of $54$ pages in his English and Psychology textbooks. He read $41$ pages in his English textbook. How many pages did he read in his Psychology textbook?
Pablo’s father is $3$ years older than his mother. Pablo’s mother is $42$ years old. How old is his father?
Eva’s daughter is $5$ years younger than her son. Eva’s son is $12$ years old. How old is her daughter?
Allie weighs $8$ pounds less than her twin sister Lorrie. Allie weighs $124$ pounds. How much does Lorrie weigh?
For a family birthday dinner, Celeste bought a turkey that weighed $5$ pounds less than the one she bought for Thanksgiving. The birthday dinner turkey weighed $16$ pounds. How much did the Thanksgiving turkey weigh?
The nurse reported that Tricia’s daughter had gained $4.2$ pounds since her last checkup and now weighs $31.6$ pounds. How much did Tricia’s daughter weigh at her last checkup?
Connor’s temperature was $0.7$ degrees higher this morning than it had been last night. His temperature this morning was $101.2$ degrees. What was his temperature last night?
Melissa’s math book cost $\text{\$22.85}$ less than her art book cost. Her math book cost $\text{\$93.75}.$ How much did her art book cost?
Ron’s paycheck this week was $\text{\$17.43}$ less than his paycheck last week. His paycheck this week was $\text{\$103.76}.$ How much was Ron’s paycheck last week?
Everyday Math
Baking Kelsey needs $\frac{2}{3}$ cup of sugar for the cookie recipe she wants to make. She only has $\frac{1}{4}$ cup of sugar and will borrow the rest from her neighbor. Let $s$ equal the amount of sugar she will borrow. Solve the equation $\frac{1}{4}+s=\frac{2}{3}$ to find the amount of sugar she should ask to borrow.
Construction Miguel wants to drill a hole for a $\frac{5}{\text{8}}\phantom{\rule{0.1em}{0ex}}\text{inch}$ screw. The screw should be $\frac{1}{12}$ inch larger than the hole. Let $d$ equal the size of the hole he should drill. Solve the equation $d+\frac{1}{12}=\frac{5}{8}$ to see what size the hole should be.
Writing Exercises
Is $\mathrm{18}$ a solution to the equation $3x=165x?$ How do you know?
Write a word sentence that translates the equation $y18=41$ and then make up an application that uses this equation in its solution.
Self Check
ⓐ After completing the exercises, use this checklist to evaluate your mastery of the objectives of this section.
ⓑ If most of your checks were:
…confidently. Congratulations! You have achieved the objectives in this section. Reflect on the study skills you used so that you can continue to use them. What did you do to become confident of your ability to do these things? Be specific.
…with some help. This must be addressed quickly because topics you do not master become potholes in your road to success. In math, every topic builds upon previous work. It is important to make sure you have a strong foundation before you move on. Whom can you ask for help? Your fellow classmates and instructor are good resources. Is there a place on campus where math tutors are available? Can your study skills be improved?
…no—I don’t get it! This is a warning sign and you must not ignore it. You should get help right away or you will quickly be overwhelmed. See your instructor as soon as you can to discuss your situation. Together you can come up with a plan to get you the help you need.