Mathematics I (Math 1132)

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Study Force Academy
Durham College, Mathematics
  • 42 lessons
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  • 10 week duration

Mathematics I (Math 1132)

Solve Literal Equations

A literal equation is one in which some or all of the constants are represented by letters. Arguably any mathematical formula expressing an actual relationship between its variables is a literal equation. Take the Pythagorean theorem formula as an example.


It consists of three variables, a and b are the side lengths while c represents the length of the hypotenuse. It can manipulated in a couple of ways:


When a formula contains numbers as well, such as the area of a circle, A = πr², it’s called a numerical equation – π is an irrational number. Therefore, given that literal equations don’t have numbers, rearranging them should never yield any numbers. Let’s try rearranging a few equations in the following video:

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