© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Word Problems Introduction

In the last unit, we talked about polynomials. Remember? You wrote about it in your diary. Anyway, we'll now tackle the task of translating between English and mathematics so we can look at a paragraph and pull out an equation or inequality to solve it. It'll get to the point where you'll start seeing equations and inequalities even when reading something as innocent as a Harry Potter novel. Hagrid + Hippogriffs = Trouble. Draco ≤ Lucius.

Translating English into mathematical symbols is often the trickiest part of a math problem, so we want to give it the attention it deserves. We'll start by translating short expressions and build our way up to the big stuff. Then the double stuf. Sorry, it always comes back around to Oreos.

As the problems become bigger, take your time while translating. You need to know what the question is asking before you can give a correct answer.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...