# Algebra question

## Recommended Posts

4 - 2x =g

-2x=g - 4

X = (4 - g) / 2

Help me out here; it's been a few years. ;) How does the negative distribute when you move the 2 over? Why is the 2 positive, but everything on top opposite? Would it also be correct to say x = (g - 4) / -2?

##### Share on other sites

4 - 2x =g

-2x=g - 4

X = (4 - g) / 2

Help me out here; it's been a few years. ;) How does the negative distribute when you move the 2 over? Why is the 2 positive, but everything on top opposite? Would it also be correct to say x = (g - 4) / -2?

Yes, but it would not be simplified.

A fraction with a negative denominator is not considered simplified. So the negative could be applied to the entire fraction:

g   -   4

x   =     -   ----------

2

Even better, distribute the negative through the numerator:

-g   +   4

x   =          ----------

2

That one is not wrong, but most mathematicians prefer not to lead with a negative term, so this would be better:

4   -   g

x   =         ----------

2

These display fine on my screen. I'm hoping it works for others as well.

Thank you!

##### Share on other sites

Related to the excellent explanation above, being able to move smoothly between -(g-4) and 4-g is something that people tend to struggle with in my lower-division classes at the college. It is a subskill worth practicing if your student struggles with it.

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.