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Know the Vocabulary of Algebra

In this worksheet, students will interpret and apply mathematical command words

'Know the Vocabulary of Algebra' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 9 Maths worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Algebra

Curriculum subtopic:   Use and Interpret Algebraic Notation

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Lots of students are really good at maths, but the problem they have is working out what the question is asking for!


boy with question marks


This can mean a huge difference in exam marks, so in this activity we will look at the command words and their meaning!


Here are some of the most common ones:



This means a solution to the equation is required (ie. they need a value of the unknown).

For example:

Solve   2x + 3 = 7

2x = 4

x = 2      Solved!



This means make the expression as simple as you can (ie. often means collect the like terms).

For example:

Simplify   2c + 4v + 3c + 5v

= 5c + 9v     Simplified!



This means remove any brackets.

For example:

Expand    2(3x + 5)            ( 2x3x = 6x    and 2 x 5 = 10)

= 6x + 10     Expanded!



This means insert brackets by taking out common factors.

For example:

Factorise 2w + 6

2(w + 3)       Factorised!


Does that all make sense?

Let's practise these command words.

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