A literal equation is an equation that expresses a relationship between two or more variables. A formula is an example of a literal equation. We present a tutorial on how to solve literal equations for one of the variables. Detailed solutions to examples and answers to exercises are presented.
Example 1
Solve the formula
P = 2L + 2W
for W.
Solution to Example 1
Given
P = 2L + 2W
we first isolate the term containing W : add -2L to both sides of the equation
P - 2L = 2L + 2W - 2L
Simplify to obtain
P - 2L = 2W
Divide both sides by 2 to obtain W.
W = (P- 2L) / 2
Example 2
H = √ ( x^{ 2} + y^{ 2})
for y, where H, x and y are a positive real numbers and H is greater than x and greater than y.