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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Solve an equation with constants on both sides
  • Solve an equation with variables on both sides
  • Solve an equation with variables and constants on both sides

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Simplify: 4 y 9 + 9 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Solve equations with constants on both sides

In all the equations we have solved so far, all the variable terms were on only one side of the equation with the constants on the other side. This does not happen all the time—so now we will learn to solve equations in which the variable terms, or constant terms, or both are on both sides of the equation.

Our strategy will involve choosing one side of the equation to be the “variable side”, and the other side of the equation to be the “constant side.” Then, we will use the Subtraction and Addition Properties of Equality to get all the variable terms together on one side of the equation and the constant terms together on the other side.

By doing this, we will transform the equation that began with variables and constants on both sides into the form a x = b . We already know how to solve equations of this form by using the Division or Multiplication Properties of Equality.

Solve: 7 x + 8 = −13 .

Solution

In this equation, the variable is found only on the left side. It makes sense to call the left side the “variable” side. Therefore, the right side will be the “constant” side. We will write the labels above the equation to help us remember what goes where.

This figure shows the equation 7x plus 8 equals negative 13, with the left side of the equation labeled “variable”, written in red, and the right side of the equation labeled “constant”, written in red.

Since the left side is the “ x ”, or variable side, the 8 is out of place. We must “undo” adding 8 by subtracting 8, and to keep the equality we must subtract 8 from both sides.

.
Use the Subtraction Property of Equality. .
Simplify. .
Now all the variables are on the left and the constant on the right.
The equation looks like those you learned to solve earlier.
Use the Division Property of Equality. .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let x = −3 . .
.
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Solve: 3 x + 4 = −8 .

x = −4

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Solve: 5 a + 3 = −37 .

a = −8

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Solve: 8 y 9 = 31 .

Solution

Notice, the variable is only on the left side of the equation, so we will call this side the “variable” side, and the right side will be the “constant” side. Since the left side is the “variable” side, the 9 is out of place. It is subtracted from the 8 y , so to “undo” subtraction, add 9 to both sides. Remember, whatever you do to the left, you must do to the right.

.
Add 9 to both sides. .
Simplify. .
The variables are now on one side and the constants on the other.
We continue from here as we did earlier.
Divide both sides by 8. .
Simplify. .
Check: .
Let y = 5 . .
.
.
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Solve: 5 y 9 = 16 .

y = 5

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Solve: 3 m 8 = 19 .

m = 9

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Solve equations with variables on both sides

What if there are variables on both sides of the equation? For equations like this, begin as we did above—choose a “variable” side and a “constant” side, and then use the subtraction and addition properties of equality to collect all variables on one side and all constants on the other side.

Solve: 9 x = 8 x 6 .

Solution

Here the variable is on both sides, but the constants only appear on the right side, so let’s make the right side the “constant” side. Then the left side will be the “variable” side.

.
We don’t want any x ’s on the right, so subtract the 8 x from both sides. .
Simplify. .
We succeeded in getting the variables on one side and the constants on the other, and have obtained the solution.
Check: .
Let x = −6 . .
.
.
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Questions & Answers

A private jet can fly 1,210 miles against a 25 mph headwind in the same amount of time it can fly 1,694 miles with a 25 mph tailwind. Find the speed of the jet
Mikaela Reply
Washing his dad’s car alone, eight-year-old Levi takes 2.5 hours. If his dad helps him, then it takes 1 hour. How long does it take the Levi’s dad to wash the car by himself?
Sam Reply
Ethan and Leo start riding their bikes at the opposite ends of a 65-mile bike path. After Ethan has ridden 1.5 hours and Leo has ridden 2 hours, they meet on the path. Ethan’s speed is 6 miles per hour faster than Leo’s speed. Find the speed of the two bikers.
Mckenzie Reply
Nathan walked on an asphalt pathway for 12 miles. He walked the 12 miles back to his car on a gravel road through the forest. On the asphalt he walked 2 miles per hour faster than on the gravel. The walk on the gravel took one hour longer than the walk on the asphalt. How fast did he walk on the gravel?
Mckenzie
Nancy took a 3 hour drive. She went 50 miles before she got caught in a storm. Then she drove 68 miles at 9 mph less than she had driven when the weather was good. What was her speed driving in the storm?
Reiley Reply
Mr Hernaez runs his car at a regular speed of 50 kph and Mr Ranola at 36 kph. They started at the same place at 5:30 am and took opposite directions. At what time were they 129 km apart?
hamzzi Reply
90 minutes
muhammad
Melody wants to sell bags of mixed candy at her lemonade stand. She will mix chocolate pieces that cost $4.89 per bag with peanut butter pieces that cost $3.79 per bag to get a total of twenty-five bags of mixed candy. Melody wants the bags of mixed candy to cost her $4.23 a bag to make. How many bags of chocolate pieces and how many bags of peanut butter pieces should she use?
Jake Reply
enrique borrowed $23,500 to buy a car he pays his uncle 2% interest on the $4,500 he borrowed from him and he pays the bank 11.5% interest on the rest. what average interest rate does he pay on the total $23,500
Nakiya Reply
13.5
Pervaiz
Amber wants to put tiles on the backsplash of her kitchen counters. She will need 36 square feet of tiles. She will use basic tiles that cost $8 per square foot and decorator tiles that cost $20 per square foot. How many square feet of each tile should she use so that the overall cost of the backsplash will be $10 per square foot?
Bridget Reply
The equation P=28+2.54w models the relation between the amount of Randy’s monthly water bill payment, P, in dollars, and the number of units of water, w, used. Find the payment for a month when Randy used 15 units of water.
Bridget
help me understand graphs
Marlene Reply
what kind of graphs?
bruce
function f(x) to find each value
Marlene
I am in algebra 1. Can anyone give me any ideas to help me learn this stuff. Teacher and tutor not helping much.
Marlene
Given f(x)=2x+2, find f(2) so you replace the x with the 2, f(2)=2(2)+2, which is f(2)=6
Melissa
if they say find f(5) then the answer would be f(5)=12
Melissa
I need you to help me Melissa. Wish I can show you my homework
Marlene
How is f(1) =0 I am really confused
Marlene
what's the formula given? f(x)=?
Melissa
It shows a graph that I wish I could send photo of to you on here
Marlene
Which problem specifically?
Melissa
which problem?
Melissa
I don't know any to be honest. But whatever you can help me with for I can practice will help
Marlene
I got it. sorry, was out and about. I'll look at it now.
Melissa
Thank you. I appreciate it because my teacher assumes I know this. My teacher before him never went over this and several other things.
Marlene
I just responded.
Melissa
Thank you
Marlene
-65r to the 4th power-50r cubed-15r squared+8r+23 ÷ 5r
WENDY Reply
State the question clearly please
Rich
write in this form a/b answer should be in the simplest form 5%
August Reply
convert to decimal 9/11
August
0.81818
Rich
5/100 = .05 but Rich is right that 9/11 = .81818
Melissa
Equation in the form of a pending point y+2=1/6(×-4)
Jose Reply
write in simplest form 3 4/2
August
definition of quadratic formula
Ahmed Reply
From Google: The quadratic formula, , is used in algebra to solve quadratic equations (polynomial equations of the second degree). The general form of a quadratic equation is , where x represents a variable, and a, b, and c are constants, with . A quadratic equation has two solutions, called roots.
Melissa
what is the answer of w-2.6=7.55
What Reply
10.15
Michael
w = 10.15 You add 2.6 to both sides and then solve for w (-2.6 zeros out on the left and leaves you with w= 7.55 + 2.6)
Korin
Nataly is considering two job offers. The first job would pay her $83,000 per year. The second would pay her $66,500 plus 15% of her total sales. What would her total sales need to be for her salary on the second offer be higher than the first?
Mckenzie Reply
x > $110,000
bruce
greater than $110,000
Michael

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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