Translating words to equations

This table shows some very common word phrases and their translation into an algebra expression.

Word Phrase Expression Comment
three times a number 3x A number next to a variable means multiply
half of a number x/2 "half of", "third of", "one fifth of" all mean multiply by fractions, or divide by the denominator
one minus 3 times a number 1 - 3x
one less than 3 times a number 3x - 1 Tricky! "less than" means subtract from what follows the "less than"
a number increased by 5 x + 5 The word "increase" means add
a number decreased by 8 x - 8 The word "decrease" means subtract
8 more than 5 times a number 5x + 8 "more than" means add
6 less than 3 times a number 3x - 6 "less than" means subtract from what follows the "less than"


This table shows some very common word sentences and their translation into an algebra equation. They all have phrases like "I get", "the result is", or just "is" that makes them equations.

Sentence Equation Comment
I subtract one from my number and I get 5 x - 1 = 5 "I get" is the equal sign
I multiply my number by 4 and I get 8 4x = 8 "I get" is the equal sign
I take half of my number, decrease it by 6 and the result is 4 x/2 - 6 = 4 "the result is" is the equal sign
3 less than half my age is 2 x/2 - 3 = 2 Here, the simple "is" is the equal sign