Chapter 2

# Smooth Operators: Working with the Big Four Operations

In This Chapter

Rewriting equations using inverse operations and the commutative property

Understanding the associative and distributive properties

Working with inequalities such as >, <, ≠, and ≈

Calculating powers and square roots

The Big Four operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing) are basic stuff, but they're really pretty versatile tools. In this chapter, I show you that the Big Four are really two pairs of inverse operations — that is, operations that undo each other. You also discover how the commutative property allows you to rearrange numbers in an expression. And most important, you find out how to rewrite equations in alternative forms that allow you to solve problems more easily.

Next, I show you how to use parentheses to group numbers and operations together. You discover how the associative property ensures that, in certain cases, the placement of parentheses doesn't change the answer to a problem. You also work with four types of inequalities: >, <, ≠, and ≈. Finally, I show you that ...

Get Basic Math and Pre-Algebra Workbook For Dummies, 2nd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.