Reflexive Property of Equality: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:49 Formula
  • 1:12 Example 1
  • 2:01 Example 2
  • 3:03 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.

After watching this video lesson, you will understand the reflexive property of equality. You will learn what the formula for this property looks like and how you can use it to help you solve problems.


In this video lesson, you will learn about the reflexive property of equality. This property tells us that anything is equal to itself. You can think of the word reflexive and think about reflections.

What happens when you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you see someone else? Or, do you see yourself? Of course, you see yourself in all your glory. What you see is exactly equal to what you are. And so it is with the reflexive property. If you put a mirror in front of whatever number you have, you will see the same number in the mirror. So, 5 will always be equal to 5.


In math, the formula we use to represent this property is a = a. This formula tells us that whatever number we have will always be equal to itself.

5 = 5

10 = 10

101 = 101

Let's look at a couple of examples and see how this property works and how we can use it to help us solve problems.

Example 1

In our first example, we will see just how this formula works. We begin with just a number. Let's pick the number 3. Now, picture 3 of something. Anything. How about 3 balloons?

If Joe is holding 3 balloons in his left hand, how many balloons will he need to hold in his right hand so that the number of balloons match? Why, he will need to hold 3 balloons, as well. If we put a mirror on top of Joe's head, how many balloons will it show? It will show 3 balloons.

This is just what the reflexive property of equality tells us. If we want our numbers to match, they have to be the same. So, we have 3 balloons equals 3 balloons.

3 = 3

Example 2

In this next example, we will see how this property can help us solve problems.

Find x, if x = 3 + 5

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