# Making Formulas from Words

## Making Formulas from Words

• Understanding how to construct formulas from words is a crucial skill that you need in algebra. This task involves translating worded problems into mathematical language.

• Begin with reading the word problem carefully. Identify the quantities that are being described, and assign each of these quantities a variable.

• Often, the word ‘is’ can be translated into an equals sign (=) in a formula.

• Words such as ‘total’, ‘sum’, ‘more than’, ‘combined’ and ‘added to’ can indicate the need to use addition (+) in your formula.

• ‘Difference’, ‘less than’, ‘subtracted from’ and ‘decreased by’ could suggest the use of subtraction (-).

• Terms like ‘product’, ‘times’, ‘multiplied by’ and ‘of’ often mean you should use multiplication (*).

• ‘Quotient’, ‘divided by’ and ‘per’ indicate division (/)

• Keep in mind that the order of words can influence the order of operations. For instance, ‘three less than a number x’ would be written as ‘x - 3’, not ‘3 - x’.

• For quantities that change, you may need to use variables. For example, if the problem talks about ‘each’ item or ‘every’ hour, this suggests a multiplication operation.

• Don’t forget to check your formula by substituting values to make sure it makes sense and solves the problem correctly.

• Practice is key in mastering this skill. The more word problems you translate into formulas, the better you’ll become at recognising the mathematical operations needed.

• Lastly, remember to show your working at all stages. This will aid your understanding and could gain you more marks.