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How to work with Algebra: Part 1 – Terms and Expressions


Algebra uses letters – which is why you may find it confusing when doing maths! But how much do you actually know about letters?

The word alphabet actually comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta. The original alphabet used 30 signs, and didn’t even include any vowels. We still use the 23 letters of ancient Rome, and in addition J, V and W, which the Romans did not have. Around 100 different languages today use a version of this alphabet, however there are a different number of letters in some of them. For example, the Croatian alphabet has 30 letters.

The 26 letters in the English alphabet can produce over 40 distinct sounds.  This is because many letters can be pronounced in different ways. For example, the letter C can have a harsh or soft sound, like in card or in city. The most commonly used letter is the letter ‘e’. As many as one in eight of all letters written in English is the letter ‘e’. However, more English words begin with the letter ‘s’. Did you notice – not an x in sight!!

If you struggle with algebra, check out the first part of our “How to” guides on Algebra.  Part 1 explains the basics of algebra, what terms and expressions are, and will show you how to collect like terms, and multiply letters. It also includes some questions for you to try at the end so you can check your understanding.

Click on the picture below to view our useful guide.

How to work with Algebra

Come back and check our blog page for more resources to help you improve your understanding of different topics in various subjects.  Over the next few weeks there will be more  resources to help your understanding of powers and roots, expanding and factorising brackets, and solving equations, including quadratic equations.


If you found this useful and think you would benefit from some additional help please contact us.


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