From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

# Complicated Equations

As Avril Lavigne would ask: Why do you have to go and make things so complicated, algebra?

Good question, Avril. The truth is that we live in a complicated world, so many of the equations we use are also complicated. We can hardly expect to be able to understand a concept as intricate as nuclear fission with equations as simple as x = 3y. If it were that easy, we wouldn't just need to worry about Iran's nuclear capabilities...we'd also need to keep a wary eye on every middle schooler with an algebra textbook. The world would be a scary place.

The good news is that there are ways of taking seemingly complicated equations and breaking them down into simpler, more manageable chunks. Once you've done that, you'll be able to remove the fractions, or the parentheses, or whatever else it is that's sticking in your metaphorical, mathematical craw. You just need to learn the tricks.

Lucky for you, we know those tricksâ€”and we're eager and willing to share them with you. We only ask that you exercise caution when thinking about defusing a gravy grenade anywhere. You may be trying to be cool, but you look like a fool to us. (Ah, the early 2000s, when musical lyrics were indistinguishable from Shakespearean poetry.)

Advertisement