A literal equation is an equation with more than one variable. Formulas can be considered literal equations. To solve a literal equation, use inverse operations and the Properties of Equality to isolate the variable of interest.
Solve the literal equation
Solve Ax+By=C for x.
Notice that the equation above has many different variables. However, x is the variable of interest. To isolate x, we need to move By and A to the right-hand side of the equation. Recall that only like terms can be combined.
Sometimes, rearranging a formula so that a different variable is highlighted, can make solving a problem easier. The same approach as above can be followed to isolate a variable of interest.
Solve the formula
To convert temperatures in Fahrenheit, F, to temperatures in Celsius, C, the following formula can be used. F=59C+32
Solve the formula for C. Then use the resultant formula to convert 98∘ Fahrenheit to Celsius. Round to the nearest degree.
In the given formula, C is the variable of interest. To isolate C, we can move 32 and 59 to the left-hand side using inverse operations.