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# Two-step inequalities

Two-step inequalities are slightly more complicated than one-step inequalities (duh!). This is a worked example of solving ⅔>-4y-8⅓. Created by Sal Khan and Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

## Want to join the conversation?

- why is it so hard to learn?(77 votes)
- because it helps our brains grow and keeps us on top of becoming smarter.(30 votes)

- How would you then answer a question like this type?

4x − 3/2− 3x − 3/3< 3

I cant find any references to this type of equation, since i don't think it is a multi-step inequality(21 votes)- a calculator would probably help(14 votes)

- I was trying to solve a multi-step inequality but I don't know how to. The inequality is:

-1/4(8n-12) ≥ −2n−1 When I try to solve it the n variable no longer exists and I don't understand how I would continue to solve. When I looked online they said the answer would be all real numbers are solutions but I still do not understand. Please help.(11 votes)- 1) Distribute the -1/4 on the left side

-1/4(8n-12) ≥ −2n−1

-2n+3 ≥ −2n−1

2) Add 2n to both sides

3 ≥ −1

So, as you have found already, the variable disappears. The inequality that remains is True. 3 is greater than -1. This is called an identify. It tells us that any value of "n" that you use in the inequality will be a solution. So, the solution is all real numbers. You can see this for yourself by picking any value you like for "n" and checking to see if it is a solution. All values will work.

Here are a couple of other scenarios that you might run into:

If your inequality had become 3 ≥ 3, this is also true (an identity). So, again the solution is all real numbers.

If your inequality becomes something like 3 < 1, this is False ( 3 is never less than 1). This is called a contradiction. It means that the inequality has no solution.(23 votes)

- does it matter which side the variable terms are(9 votes)
- If you mean "Does it matter-left or right side of the equals sign?" then no.

However, it is important to get the variable on one side, either the left or the right.(14 votes)

- This is harder than rocket science!(9 votes)
- Actually, if you can solve a 2-step equation, you can solve 2-step inequalities. The same techniques are used. The only thing that is different is that if you multiply/divide the inequality by a negative value, then you reverse the inequality.

And, by the way, multi-step inequalities and many more advanced math topics are used in rocket science. So, a 2-step inequality is not harder than rocket science.(10 votes)

- 2:50Why do you have to swap the inequality so that it is less than?(9 votes)
- *When you multiply both sides by a negative value you make the side that is greater have a "bigger" negative number, which actually means it is now less than the other side!* This is why you must flip the sign whenever you multiply by a negative number.(8 votes)

- Where did you get the 25/3 from?(7 votes)
- Sal converted the mixed number 8 1/3 to an improper fraction which is equal to 25/3. Hope this helped!(5 votes)

- At3:05Sal divides -12y by -12 but when I divided by a negative number in the problem: 16x -7 < or = -71 (I divided - -64 by -16) the answer was wrong. I don't understand why it was wrong, please explain why.(4 votes)
- You didn't say what you got for your final answer.

-- Did you reverse the inequality since you divided by a negative?

-- How did you get 2 "-" in front of the 64? -71+7 = -64

-- Did you finish the math? -64/(-16) = 4

So the final result should be: x >= 4

Hope this helps.

Note: If this if in a practice problem, use the Hints to figure out what you did incorrect. This allows you to learn from your mistake(s).(10 votes)

- At1:28, Sal simplifies 2/3 by multiplying it by three(because he's doing that to the other side of the inequality sign). He then crosses out both threes and leaves the two. Why? How does that work? It's probably really obvious, but can someone answer this?(6 votes)
- Sure!, A fraction is just a number divided by another number, therefore to undo the division you multiply. Sal crossed them out because they cancel out each other.

For example,

if you have 6/3 that will equal 2. then multiply by three to get 6. But you should just multiply by the denominator and cancel out everything at the beginning to get 6!

Hope this helps!(6 votes)

- Yes, I get it but I needed to know what y is. So in this problem, y=? How do I get that?(5 votes)
- y isn't a certain number. Any number greater than -2 1/4 would work for y.(4 votes)

## Video transcript

We have the inequality 2/3
is greater than negative 4y minus 8 and 1/3. Now, the first thing I want to
do here, just because mixed numbers bother me-- they're
actually hard to deal with mathematically. They're easy to think about--
oh, it's a little bit more than 8. Let's convert this to an
improper fraction. So 8 and 1/3 is equal to-- the
denominator's going to be 3. 3 times 8 is 24, plus 1 is 25. So this thing over here is the
same thing as 25 over 3. Let me just rewrite
the whole thing. So it's 2/3 is greater than
negative 4y minus 25 over 3. Now, the next thing I want to
do, just because dealing with fractions are a bit of a pain,
is multiply both sides of this inequality by some
quantity that'll eliminate the fractions. And the easiest one I can think
of is multiply both sides by 3. That'll get rid of the 3's
in the denominator. So let's multiply both sides
of this equation by 3. That's the left-hand side. And then I'm going to multiply
the right-hand side. 3, I'll put it in parentheses
like that. Well, one point that I want to
point out is that I did not have to swap the inequality
sign, because I multiplied both sides by a positive
number. If the 3 was a negative number,
if I multiplied both sides by negative 3, or negative
1, or negative whatever, I would have had to
swap the inequality sign. Anyway, let's simplify this. So the left-hand side, we have
3 times 2/3, which is just 2. 2 is greater than. And then we can distribute
this 3. 3 times negative 4y
is negative 12y. And then 3 times negative 25
over 3 is just negative 25. Now, we want to get all of our
constant terms on one side of the inequality and all of our
variable terms-- the only variable here is y on the other
side-- the y is already sitting here, so let's just get
this 25 on the other side of the inequality. And we can do that by
adding 25 to both sides of this equation. So let's add 25 to both sides
of this equation. And with the left-hand side, 2
plus 25 five is 27 and we're going to get 27 is
greater than. The right-hand side of the
inequality is negative 12y. And then negative 25 plus 25,
those cancel out, that was the whole point, so we're left
with 27 is greater than negative 12y. Now, to isolate the y, you can
either multiply both sides by negative 1/12 or you could say
let's just divide both sides by negative 12. Now, because I'm multiplying
or dividing by a negative number here, I'm going to need
to swap the inequality. So let me write this. If I divide both sides of this
equation by negative 12, then it becomes 27 over negative 12
is less than-- I'm swapping the inequality, let me do this
in a different color-- is less than negative 12y over
negative 12. Notice, when I divide both sides
of the inequality by a negative number, I swap the
inequality, the greater than becomes a less than. When it was positive, I didn't
have to swap it. So 27 divided by negative
12, well, they're both divisible by 3. So we're going to get, if we
divide the numerator and the denominator by 3, we get
negative 9 over 4 is less than-- these cancel out-- y. So y is greater than negative
9/4, or negative 9/4 is less than y. And if you wanted to write
that-- just let me write this-- our answer is y is
greater than negative 9/4. I just swapped the order, you
could say negative 9/4 is less than y. Or if you want to visualize that
a little bit better, 9/4 is 2 and 1/4, so we could also
say y is greater than negative 2 and 1/4 if we want to put
it as a mixed number. And if we wanted to graph it
on the number line-- let me draw a number line right here,
a real simple one. Maybe this is 0. Negative 2 is right over, let's
say negative 1, negative 2, then say negative
3 is right there. Negative 2 and 1/4 is going
to be right here, and it's greater than, so we're not going
to include that in the solution set. So we're going to make an
open circle right there. And everything larger than that
is a valid y, is a y that will satisfy the inequality.