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Algebra Vocabulary Terms

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  • 0:02 Equations
  • 0:51 Variables
  • 1:43 Coefficients
  • 2:18 Terms
  • 2:54 Constants
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson to learn about some basic vocabulary words that you will come across again and again in the course of your studies in algebra. After you finish this video, you should know and be able to identify each term.

Equations

I'm going to introduce you to some of the most basic vocabulary terms in algebra in this video lesson. These are terms that you will see over and over again. Algebra becomes much easier to navigate once you fully understand these concepts. So, let's begin.

The biggest concept, the biggest vocabulary word that you will come across in algebra, is the word equation. It stands for 'something equals something.' You will know that you are looking at an equation if you see an equals sign. Just think to yourself: see an equals sign, see an equation. For example, x + 7 = 4 is an equation because it has an equals sign. Likewise, 4x + 3 = 1 is an equation because there is an equals sign.

Variables

These next few terms cover the parts of an equation. The first are our variables, the letters in our equation. These letters stand for a value that we don't know just yet. For some equations, we can solve for this variable and be able to find out what it equals. For other equations, we have to leave the variables as they are.

The most common letter in algebra is the letter x. As you can see in our examples, we have used the letter x. But we can use any letter that we feel like. We can use s + 7 = 4 or even b + 7 = 4. We can use whatever letter suits our fancy. Our variables can also have exponents. We can have just an x, or we can have an x^2 or even an x^8.

Coefficients

Next come coefficients. These are the numbers multiplying our variables. If you see a variable with a number directly in front of it, then you are looking at a coefficient. For example, the 4 in our equation 4x + 3 = 1 is a coefficient.

If you see a letter with no number in front of it, like the x in our equation x + 7 = 4, then the coefficient is 1. This is just one of those algebra things that you will have to live with. The number 1 is usually never written if it is connected with a variable.

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