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Writing Linear Equations

Writing Linear Equations

Linear equations are equations for which the highest power of the variable is 1. It possesses x and y values in a way that they appear in a straight line when graphed on a Cartesian plane. Solving for linear equations means finding the values of the variables present in the equation such that when they are substituted they will make the equation true.

Linear equations can have either one variable, two variables, or three variables. Examples of one-variable linear equation is as follows;

Examples of two-variable linear equations are as follows;

Examples of three-variable linear equations are as follows;

In what forms are linear equations written?

There are three forms in which linear equations are written, and they are;

  • Standard form
  • Slope intercept form
  • Point slope form

Standard form of linear equations

Linear equations with one variable in standard form are presented as;

Where

is a variable

Two-variable linear equations in standard form are presented as;

Where

and are variables

Three-variable linear equations in standard form are presented as;

Where

and are variables.

Let us look at an example of how two-variable linear equations will look like below;

Remember the coefficients cannot be 0

Slope intercept form of linear equations

The slope-intercept form is probably the most common way you would come across linear equations. It is written in the form;

Where

Point slope form of linear equations

A straight line is formed with regards to the coordinate plane in this form of writing linear equations. It is written in the form;

Where are coordinates on the plane.

Function form of linear equations

In this form of writing linear equations, it is written as a function such that

Here, is replaced with .

How to write linear equations with two points

Most problems associated with linear problems often appear to be out of you plotting the graph from a linear equation, where maybe, variables are supposed to be solved for. Here, it is rather going to be the other way around, where the equation is derived from the graph. By that, we will learn how to write linear equations from two given points, first by finding the slope of the line, then by finding the y-intercept.

Finding the slope of a line

The slope of a line is also known as the gradient. This speaks to how much the line is slant. A line can be absolutely horizontal and parallel to the x-axis if the slope is 0. However, if it is parallel to the y-axis, then it is considered undefined.

If we are given two coordinates of (2, 8) and (4, 3), the slope of the line is defined as . This means that we are only subtracting the y component of the second point from the y component of the first point, whist we subtract the x component of the second point from the x component of the first point. This is modelled in a formula as;

By our example, we will have our slope as

Finding the y-intercept

Given the x and y values and finding the slope, now we have enough information to substitute this into the standard form equation to find the y-intercept. If one point is plugged into the equation, it should be able to give us the unknowns. Here we will use the first point; (2, 8).

This means that the equation for this line is

Given the points (4, 3) and (6, -2) find the equation for the line

Answer:

Finding the slope of the line

Finding the y-intercept

Take the first point and substitute that into the standard form of linear equations

Therefore, linear equation here is

Writing linear equations from word problems

There are some word problems that will require being solved with linear systems. When such problems are encountered the following are tips to consider when solving them.

  1. Familiarise yourself with the problem and understand it
  2. Convert the problem into an equation by identifying variables and indicating what they present

We can look at an example that involves two variables.

Tickets to a music show cost $162 for 12 kids and 3 adults. On the same show, 8 kids and 3 adults also spent $122 on tickets. How much did each kid and adult have to pay?

Answer:

Understanding the problem means we will have to break them down enough

12 kids and 3 adults spend $162

8 kids and 3 adults spend $122

We can now identify variables in the equation

Let x represent the cost of kids' tickets

Let y represent the cost of adults' tickets

Ticket cost for 12 kids + 3 adults is $162

Ticket cost for 8 kids + 3 adults is $122

These kinds of equations are usually called simultaneous equations

To find the values of the variables in an equation like this, one would either need to do it by either substitution or by the elimination method. We will use the elimination method here.

Now subtract the second equation from the first

Now we can substitute the value of x into any of the equations to find y. For this example, we will substitute it into the second equation.

This means that a ticket costs $10 for kids and $14 for adults. Remember we let x represent kids' tickets, and y represent adult tickets?

Writing the linear equation of parallel lines

With parallel equations, what it means is that they should have the same slope since they all possess the same extent of the slope. This means if you encounter problems with one equation given, that makes it much easier to solve since the slope is present already. Let us take an example below.

Write the slope of the line that is parallel to the line and passes through the point (3,0).

Answer:

What we will do with the equation present is write it in standard form so the slope can easily be identified. We will make y the subject.

Now this is in standard form and the slope can easily be identified as .

So the new equation we are finding is now at

Since we have a point present, what we will do is to substitute the values into the equation to find the y-intercept

Now we can identify the line parallel to that goes through point (3, 0) as

Writing Linear Equations - Key takeaways

  • Linear equations are algebraic functions that possess x and y values in a way that they appear in a straight line when graphed on a Cartesian plane.
  • While writing linear equations with two points, the slope of the line can be found by
  • The standard form of linear equations is

Frequently Asked Questions about Writing Linear Equations

The commonest way linear equations are written is in the slope intercept form;

y = mx + b

Where y = y component on the graph

m = slope

x = x component on the graph

b = y-intercept

Find the slope of the line with the formula m = (y2-y1) / (x2-x1). Now substitue that including one point into the standard form of linear equations and solve for the y-intercept

ax + b = 0

Where a ≠ 0

x is a variable

Final Writing Linear Equations Quiz

Question

What is the standard form of linear equations?

Show answer

Answer

 y  = mx + b

Show question

Question

What is m in the standard form of linear equations?

Show answer

Answer

The slope of the line

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Question

Given two points, what is the first thing to do to find the equation of a line?

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Answer

Find the slope of the line

Show question

Question

What does b represent in the standard form of a linear equation?

Show answer

Answer

y-intercept

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Question

The gradient is also known as

Show answer

Answer

Slope

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Question

What is the slope of the line given two points as (2, 3) and (-1, -2)

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Answer

3

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Question

Write the slope of the line with points (2, 3) and (-1, -2) 

Show answer

Answer

y = 3x -3

Show question

Question

Write an equation for the word problem: A city parking garage charges a flat rate of $3.00 for parking 2hours or less, and $0.50per hour for each additional hour. Write a linear model that gives the total charge in terms of additional hours parked.

Show answer

Answer

y = 0.50x + 3


Show question

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