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Solving One-Step Linear Equations: Subtraction

Algebra might seem a little difficult at first, but we can use all kinds of interesting tricks and rules to make this much easier. One of the most useful tricks involves subtraction. This one-step trick will have us solving equations in no time!

Subtracting is as easy as adding

We can solve many linear equations by simply doing the opposite of the listed operation. So instead of subtracting, we instead add numbers to both sides of the equation. This is known as the "inverse operation."

Here''s an example:

x-9 = 15

So what is x?

All we need to do here is add 9 to both sides since the opposite of subtraction is addition. The goal is to clear away the 9 and get x by itself.

x-9+9 = 15+9

The +9 on the left side of the equation "cancels out" the -9, leaving us with zero.
15+9 = 24
. This leaves us with:
x = 24

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