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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Solve a system of equations by substitution
  • Solve applications of systems of equations by substitution

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Simplify −5 ( 3 x ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  2. Simplify 4 2 ( n + 5 ) .
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  3. Solve for y . 8 y 8 = 32 2 y
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .
  4. Solve for x . 3 x 9 y = −3
    If you missed this problem, review [link] .

Solving systems of linear equations by graphing is a good way to visualize the types of solutions that may result. However, there are many cases where solving a system by graphing is inconvenient or imprecise. If the graphs extend beyond the small grid with x and y both between −10 and 10, graphing the lines may be cumbersome. And if the solutions to the system are not integers, it can be hard to read their values precisely from a graph.

In this section, we will solve systems of linear equations by the substitution method.

Solve a system of equations by substitution

We will use the same system we used first for graphing.

{ 2 x + y = 7 x 2 y = 6

We will first solve one of the equations for either x or y . We can choose either equation and solve for either variable—but we’ll try to make a choice that will keep the work easy.

Then we substitute that expression into the other equation. The result is an equation with just one variable—and we know how to solve those!

After we find the value of one variable, we will substitute that value into one of the original equations and solve for the other variable. Finally, we check our solution and make sure it makes both equations true.

We’ll fill in all these steps now in [link] .

How to solve a system of equations by substitution

Solve the system by substitution. { 2 x + y = 7 x 2 y = 6

 

 

 

Solution

This figure has three columns and six rows. The first row says, “Step 1. Solve one of the equations for either variable.” To the right of this, the middl row reads, “We’ll solve the first equation for y.” The third column shows the two equations: 2x + y = 7 and x – 2y = 6. It shows that 2x + y = 7 becomes y = 7 – 2x. The second row reads, “Step 2. Substitute the expression from Step 1 into the other equation.” Then, “We replace y in the second equation with the expression 7 – 2x.” It then shows the x – 2y = 6 becomes x – 2(7 – 2x) = 6. The third row says, “Step 3: Solve the resulting equation.” Then “Now we have an equation with just 1 variable. WE know how to solve this!” It then shows that x – 2(7 – 2x) = 6 becomes x – 14 + 4x = 6 which becomes 5x = 20. Thus x = 4. The fourth row says, “Step 4. Substitute the solution in Step 3 into one of the original quaitons to find the other variable.” Then, “We’ll use the first equation and replace x with 4.” Then it shows that 2x + y = 7 becomes 2(4) + y = 7. This becomes 8 + y = 7, and thus y = −1. The fifth row reads, “Step 5. Write the solution as an ordered pair.” Then “The ordered air is (x, y).” Then (4, −1). The sixth row reads, “Step 6. Check that the order pair is a solution to both original equations.” Then, “Substitute (4, −1) into both equations and make sure they are both true.” It then shows that 2x + y = 7 becomxe 2(4) + −1 = 7, and thus 7 = 7. It also shows that x – 2y = 6 becomes 4 – 2(−1) = 6, and thus 6−6. It also states, “Both equations are ture. (4, −1) is the solution to the system.”
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Solve the system by substitution. { −2 x + y = −11 x + 3 y = 9

( 6 , 1 )

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Solve the system by substitution. { x + 3 y = 10 4 x + y = 18

( 4 , 2 )

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Solve a system of equations by substitution.

  1. Solve one of the equations for either variable.
  2. Substitute the expression from Step 1 into the other equation.
  3. Solve the resulting equation.
  4. Substitute the solution in Step 3 into one of the original equations to find the other variable.
  5. Write the solution as an ordered pair.
  6. Check that the ordered pair is a solution to both original equations.

If one of the equations in the system is given in slope–intercept form, Step 1 is already done! We’ll see this in [link] .

Solve the system by substitution.

{ x + y = −1 y = x + 5

Solution

The second equation is already solved for y . We will substitute the expression in place of y in the first equation.

.
The second equation is already solved for y .
We will substitute into the first equation.
Replace the y with x + 5. .
Solve the resulting equation for x . .
.
.
Substitute x = −3 into y = x + 5 to find y . .
.
The ordered pair is (−3, 2). .
Check the ordered pair in both equations:

x + y = 1 3 + 2 = ? 1 1 = 1 y = x + 5 2 = ? 3 + 5 2 = 2
The solution is (−3, 2).

Got questions? Get instant answers now!
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Solve the system by substitution. { x + y = 6 y = 3 x 2

( 2 , 4 )

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Solve the system by substitution. { 2 x y = 1 y = −3 x 6

( −1 , −3 )

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If the equations are given in standard form, we’ll need to start by solving for one of the variables. In this next example, we’ll solve the first equation for y .

Questions & Answers

Bruce drives his car for his job. The equation R=0.575m+42 models the relation between the amount in dollars, R, that he is reimbursed and the number of miles, m, he drives in one day. Find the amount Bruce is reimbursed on a day when he drives 220 miles.
Dojzae Reply
LeBron needs 150 milliliters of a 30% solution of sulfuric acid for a lab experiment but only has access to a 25% and a 50% solution. How much of the 25% and how much of the 50% solution should he mix to make the 30% solution?
Xona Reply
5%
Michael
hey everyone how to do algebra
The Reply
Felecia answer 1.5 hours before he reaches her
Adriana Reply
I would like to solve the problem -6/2x
rachel Reply
12x
Andrew
how
Christian
Does the x represent a number or does it need to be graphed ?
latonya
-3/x
Venugopal
-3x is correct
Atul
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?
Stephanie Reply
Tickets for the community fair cost $12 for adults and $5 for children. On the first day of the fair, 312 tickets were sold for a total of $2204. How many adult tickets and how many child tickets were sold?
Alpha Reply
220
gayla
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
26+37=63+8=71
ziad
11+52=63+8=71
Thisha
how do we know the answer is correct?
Thisha
23 is 11 less than 37. 23+37=63. 63+8=71. that is what the question asked for.
gayla
23 +11 = 37. 23+37=63 63+8=71
Gayla
by following the question. one number is 11 less than the other number 26+11=37 so 26+37=63+8=71
Gayla
your answer did not fit the guidelines of the question 11 is 41 less than 52.
gayla
71-8-11 =52 is this correct?
Ruel
let the number is 'x' and the other number is "x-11". if their sum is increased means: x+(x-11)+8 result will be 71. so x+(x-11)+8=71 2x-11+8=71 2x-3=71 2x=71+3 2x=74 1/2(2x=74)1/2 x=37 final answer
tesfu
just new
Muwanga
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
need help with math to do tsi test
Toocute
me too
Christian
have you tried the TSI practice test ***tsipracticetest.com
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

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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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