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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Graph inequalities on the number line
  • Solve inequalities using the Subtraction and Addition Properties of inequality
  • Solve inequalities using the Division and Multiplication Properties of inequality
  • Solve inequalities that require simplification
  • Translate to an inequality and solve

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Translate from algebra to English: 15 > x .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  2. Solve: n 9 = −42 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  3. Solve: −5 p = −23 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  4. Solve: 3 a 12 = 7 a 20 .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Graph inequalities on the number line

Do you remember what it means for a number to be a solution to an equation? A solution of an equation is a value of a variable that makes a true statement when substituted into the equation.

What about the solution of an inequality? What number would make the inequality x > 3 true? Are you thinking, ‘ x could be 4’? That’s correct, but x could be 5 too, or 20, or even 3.001. Any number greater than 3 is a solution to the inequality x > 3 .

We show the solutions to the inequality x > 3 on the number line by shading in all the numbers to the right of 3, to show that all numbers greater than 3 are solutions. Because the number 3 itself is not a solution, we put an open parenthesis at 3. The graph of x > 3 is shown in [link] . Please note that the following convention is used: light blue arrows point in the positive direction and dark blue arrows point in the negative direction.

This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than 3 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals 3, and a red line extending to the right of the parenthesis.
The inequality x > 3 is graphed on this number line.

The graph of the inequality x 3 is very much like the graph of x > 3 , but now we need to show that 3 is a solution, too. We do that by putting a bracket at x = 3 , as shown in [link] .

This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than or equal to 3 is graphed on the number line, with an open bracket at x equals 3, and a red line extending to the right of the bracket.
The inequality x 3 is graphed on this number line.

Notice that the open parentheses symbol, (, shows that the endpoint of the inequality is not included. The open bracket symbol, [, shows that the endpoint is included.

Graph on the number line:

x 1 x < 5 x > 1

Solution

  1. x 1
    This means all numbers less than or equal to 1. We shade in all the numbers on the number line to the left of 1 and put a bracket at x = 1 to show that it is included.
    This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is less than or equal to 1 is graphed on the number line, with an open bracket at x equals 1, and a red line extending to the left of the bracket.
  2. x < 5
    This means all numbers less than 5, but not including 5. We shade in all the numbers on the number line to the left of 5 and put a parenthesis at x = 5 to show it is not included.
    This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is less than 5 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals 5, and a red line extending to the right of the parenthesis.
  3. x > 1
    This means all numbers greater than −1 , but not including −1 . We shade in all the numbers on the number line to the right of −1 , then put a parenthesis at x = −1 to show it is not included.
    This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than negative 1 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals negative 1, and a red line extending to the right of the parenthesis.
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Graph on the number line: x 1 x > 2 x < 3


  1. This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is less than or equal to negative 1 is graphed on the number line, with an open bracket at x equals negative 1, and a dark line extending to the left of the bracket.

  2. This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than 2 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals 2, and a dark line extending to the right of the parenthesis.

  3. This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is less than 3 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals 3, and a dark line extending to the left of the parenthesis.
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Graph on the number line: x > 2 x < 3 x −1


  1. This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than negative 2 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals negative 2, and a dark line extending to the right of the parenthesis.

  2. This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is less than negative 3 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals negative 3, and a dark line extending to the left of the parenthesis.

  3. This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than or equal to negative 1 is graphed on the number line, with an open bracket at x equals negative 1, and a dark line extending to the right of the bracket.
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

We can also represent inequalities using interval notation. As we saw above, the inequality x > 3 means all numbers greater than 3. There is no upper end to the solution to this inequality. In interval notation , we express x > 3 as ( 3 , ) . The symbol is read as ‘infinity’. It is not an actual number. [link] shows both the number line and the interval notation.

This figure is a number line ranging from negative 5 to 5 with tick marks for each integer. The inequality x is greater than 3 is graphed on the number line, with an open parenthesis at x equals 3, and a red line extending to the right of the parenthesis. The inequality is also written in interval notation as parenthesis, 3 comma infinity, parenthesis.
The inequality x > 3 is graphed on this number line and written in interval notation.

Questions & Answers

Three-fourths of the people at a concert are children. If there are 87 children, what is the total number of people at the concert?
Tsimmuaj Reply
Erica earned a total of $50,450 last year from her two jobs. The amount she earned from her job at the store was $1,250 more than four times the amount she earned from her job at the college. How much did she earn from her job at the college?
Tsimmuaj
Erica earned a total of $50,450 last year from her two jobs. The amount she earned from her job at the store was $1,250 more than four times the amount she earned from her job at the college. How much did she earn from her job at the college?
Tsimmuaj
? Is there anything wrong with this passage I found the total sum for 2 jobs, but found why elaborate on extra If I total one week from the store *4 would = the month than the total is = x than x can't calculate 10 month of a year
candido
what would be wong
candido
87 divided by 3 then multiply that by 4. 116 people total.
Melissa
the actual number that has 3 out of 4 of a whole pie
candido
was having a hard time finding
Teddy
use Matrices for the 2nd question
Daniel
One number is 11 less than the other number. If their sum is increased by 8, the result is 71. Find the numbers.
Tsimmuaj Reply
26 + 37 = 63 + 8 = 71
gayla
Amara currently sells televisions for company A at a salary of $17,000 plus a $100 commission for each television she sells. Company B offers her a position with a salary of $29,000 plus a $20 commission for each television she sells. How televisions would Amara need to sell for the options to be equal?
Tsimmuaj Reply
yes math
Kenneth
company A 13 company b 5. A 17,000+13×100=29,100 B 29,000+5×20=29,100
gayla
DaMarcus and Fabian live 23 miles apart and play soccer at a park between their homes. DaMarcus rode his bike for 34 of an hour and Fabian rode his bike for 12 of an hour to get to the park. Fabian’s speed was 6 miles per hour faster than DaMarcus’s speed. Find the speed of both soccer players.
gustavo Reply
?
Ann
DaMarcus: 16 mi/hr Fabian: 22 mi/hr
Sherman
Joy is preparing 20 liters of a 25% saline solution. She has only a 40% solution and a 10% solution in her lab. How many liters of the 40% solution and how many liters of the 10% solution should she mix to make the 25% solution?
Wenda Reply
15 and 5
32 is 40% , & 8 is 10 % , & any 4 letters is 5%.
Karen
It felt that something is missing on the question like: 40% of what solution? 10% of what solution?
Jhea
its confusing
Sparcast
3% & 2% to complete the 25%
Sparcast
because she already has 20 liters.
Sparcast
ok I was a little confused I agree 15% & 5%
Sparcast
8,2
Karen
Jim and Debbie earned $7200. Debbie earned $1600 more than Jim earned. How much did they earned
Arleathia Reply
5600
Gloria
1600
Gloria
Bebbie: 4,400 Jim: 2,800
Jhea
A river cruise boat sailed 80 miles down the Mississippi River for 4 hours. It took 5 hours to return. Find the rate of the cruise boat in still water and the rate of the current.
Sunnyshay Reply
A veterinarian is enclosing a rectangular outdoor running area against his building for the dogs he cares for. He needs to maximize the area using 100 feet of fencing. The quadratic equation A=x(100−2x) gives the area, A , of the dog run for the length, x , of the building that will border the dog run. Find the length of the building that should border the dog run to give the maximum area, and then find the maximum area of the dog run.
Elizabeth Reply
ggfcc
Mike
Washing his dad’s car alone, eight year old Levi takes 2.5 hours. If his dad helps him, then it takes 1 hour. How long does it take the Levi’s dad to wash the car by himself?
Gagan Reply
1,75hrs
Mike
I'm going to guess. Divide Levi's time by 2. Then divide 1 hour by 2. 1.25 + 0.5 = 1.3?
John
Oops I mean 1.75
John
I'm guessing this because since I have divide 1 hour by 2, I have to do the same for the 2.5 hours it takes Levi by himself.
John
1,75 hrs is correct Mike
Emund
How did you come up with the answer?
John
Drew burned 1,800 calories Friday playing 1 hour of basketball and canoeing for 2 hours. On Saturday, he spent 2 hours playing basketball and 3 hours canoeing and burned 3,200 calories. How many calories did he burn per hour when playing basketball?
Marie Reply
Brandon has a cup of quarters and dimes with a total value of $3.80. The number of quarters is four less than twice the number of dimes. How many quarters and how many dimes does Brandon have?
Kendra Reply
Tickets to a Broadway show cost $35 for adults and $15 for children. The total receipts for 1650 tickets at one performance were $47,150. How many adult and how many child tickets were sold?
dana Reply
825
Carol
Arnold invested $64,000, some at 5.5% interest and the rest at 9%. How much did he invest at each rate if he received $4,500 in interest in one year? How do I do this
Tanesia Reply
how to square
Fiona Reply
easiest way to find the square root of a large number?
Jackie
the accompanying figure shows known flow rates of hydrocarbons into and out of a network of pipes at an oil refinery set up a linear system whose solution provides the unknown flow rates (b) solve the system for the unknown flow rates (c) find the flow rates and directions of flow if x4=50and x6=0
Sabee Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Elementary algebra. OpenStax CNX. Jan 18, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12116/1.2
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