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. 

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Writing Linear Equations Writing Linear Equations

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

    1. x + 21 = 15
    2. 3y - 4 = y
    3. 6 + 2x + x = 3

    Examples of two-variable linear equations are as follows;

    1. 2x + 5y = 15
    2. 23 - 3x = 4y
    3. 1 = 4x - 23y

    Examples of three-variable linear equations are as follows;

    1. x + 2y = z - 4
    2. 4x - 16y = 2z + 18
    3. 15x - 4x + 12 = z - 3y

    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;

    ax + b = 0

    Where a 0

    x is a variable

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

    ax + by + c = 0

    Where a 0

    b 0

    x and y are variables

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

    ax + by + cz + d = 0

    Where a 0

    b 0

    c 0

    x, y and z are variables.

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

    5x + 13y 4 = 0

    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;

    y = mx + b

    Where y = y component on the graph

    m = slope

    x = x component on the graph

    b = y-intercept

    y = 3x - 6

    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;

    y y1 = m(x x1 )

    Where (x1, y1) are coordinates on the plane.

    y 8 = 6 (x 12)

    Function form of linear equations

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

    f(x) = x + C

    Here, y is replaced with f(x).

    f(x) = x + 9

    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 3-84-2. 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;

    m (slope of line) = y2-y1x2-x1

    m = 3-84-2

    By our example, we will have our slope as -2.5

    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).

    y = mx + b

    8 = -2.5(2) + b8 = -5 + b8 + 5 = bb= 13

    This means that the equation for this line is y = -2.5x + 13

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

    Answer:

    Finding the slope of the line

    y = mx + b

    m = y2-y1x2-x1

    m = -2-36-4

    m = -2.5

    Finding the y-intercept

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

    3 = -2.5(4) + b

    3 = -10 + b

    b = 3 + 10

    b = 13

    Therefore, linear equation here is y = -2.5x + 13

    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

    12x + 3y = 162 8x + 3y = 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

    12x + 3y = 1628x + 3y = 122

    4x = 40

    x = 10

    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.

    8(10) + 3y = 122

    80 + 3y = 122

    3y = 122 - 80

    3y = 42

    y = 14

    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 2x-4y =8 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.

    2x - 4y = 8

    -4y = -2x + 8

    -4y-4 = -2x-4 + 8-4

    y = 12x + -2

    Now this is in standard form and the slope can easily be identified as 12.

    So the new equation we are finding is now at y = 12x + b

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

    0 = 12(3) + b

    0 = 32 + b

    b = -32

    Now we can identify the line parallel to 2x - 4y = 8 that goes through point (3, 0) as

    y = 12x - 32

    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 m = y2-y1x2-x1
    • The standard form of linear equations is y = mx + b
    Frequently Asked Questions about Writing Linear Equations

    How do you write a linear equation?

    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

    How to write an equation with two points.

    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

    How to write a linear equation in standard form.

    ax + b = 0

    Where a ≠ 0

    x is a variable

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