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## Algebra 1

### Course: Algebra 1>Unit 1

Lesson 2: Introduction to variables

# Why aren't we using the multiplication sign?

In algebra, representing multiplication with variables can be tricky due to the similarity between the variable "x" and the multiplication symbol. To avoid confusion, use alternative methods like 2⋅x, 2(x), or 2x. Practice evaluating expressions by substituting given values for variables and following the order of operations. Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

• Would my teacher take points off, if I don't use ˑ ?
• He shouldn't, and he probably won't, since x is still defined as the multiplication sign. If you are really careful and never confuse the multiplication sign x with the variable x, and it looks pretty clear to everyone else what you mean as you do math, there is no reason why you should lose points. Having said that, it really is easier to use . instead of x to represent multiplication, specially as the math you start to learn gets more and more complicated and the use of the variable x becomes more and more commom.
• at , why do mathematicians use "X" as a variable more often that most?
• x is actually the latin replacement for the arabic word that means "unknown" or "something." Here's a short video about it on Tedtalks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX_OxBfsvbk

Hope you foound this interesting :)
• What is preferred the dot or the x
• Once you get to Algebra, the x should no longer be used for multiplicaition, it is reserved for a variable. So the dot is now preferred, or use parentheses or an asterisk (*).
• Why do most people use x instead of other letters like p or s or even q?
• It's just a common variable to use. Many people use p, s, q, and every other letter (you'll even see Greek ones in geometry!).
• Soooo... why are we ever taught "x means multiplication" at all?! Wouldn't it be easier if we just always used the dot? It's not like one is more intuitive than the other.
• That would be great. Maybe the issue has to do with abstractness. When people are young, they are very much concrete thinkers - what you see is what you get. Later in 5th to 7th grade, they are able to start thinking more abstractly. Perhaps using a dot is too abstract for the young compared to an x. This is only a thought, it may not mean anything.
• I feel like it would be easier if we just DIDN'T use letters in math. Anyone agree with me?
• What kinds of symbols do you recommend then? "⍼"?
• Why couldn't you just use a different symbol than x?
• You can use any letter or symbols to represent your number.
(1 vote)
• is this correct way to solve 7+4b b=3

7+4b
= 4*3
=12+7
=19

is there another way I can solve this problem
• yep,that's the way I do the equation. But I do that more explained.Otherwise I can't understand the question.
7+4b,b=3
=7+4*(3)
=7+12
=19
only a little bit explained.
• At Sal says we can use a dot for a multiplication sign instead of an x. Why do mathematicians use a dot, and not some other sign?