Algebra Key Vocabulary Words

Algebra Key Vocabulary Words - Continued

This is a continuation of the algebra key vocabulary words. Students need to know certain key terms. This is a key issue that hurts a student’s chance for passing algebra. There are several misunderstandings about algebra vocabulary. The following list are the major areas of concern that if a student knows these definitions it will ensure that they can pass algebra.

FOIL Method

The FOIL Method is an acronym that helps us remember how to multiply together two binomials. For instance the (x + 5) * (x + 4). The FOIL Method consists of multiplying the First two terms (x*x), then multiplying the Outermost terms (x*4), then multiplying the I>nnermost two terms (5*x), then multiplying the Last two terms (5*4) and finally adding all the product together. The result is the following: (x + 5) * (x + 4) = x^2 + 5*x + 4*x + 5*4 which can be combined to give x^2 + 9*x + 20.


A function is an algebra equation in which there are two variables such as y = 4*x + 3. From this equation we see that the variable y changes as x changes. When x = 1 then y = 4*1 + 3 which is 7. When x = 2 then y = 4*2 +3 which is 11. Y is said to vary as a function of x and is sometimes written as y = f(x) [read as "y = a function of x"].

Linear Equations

Linear Equations, sometimes referred to as Linear Functions, are polynomials of the first degree that contain only x to the first power and constants and have a general form of ax + b = 0 where a and b are constants.

Algebra Key Vocabulary Words


A Monomial is an algebra expression with only one term, such as x, y or 4*x.


Operations in Algebra are the same as those in arithmetic. The common operations are exponentiation, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction.

Order of Operations

In Algebra as in arithmetic, to get the correct answer the mathematical operations much be carried out in a specific order. An acronym to help remember this required order is PEMDAS -First, carryout all operations contained within Parentheses (NOTE: The order of operations must be observed within the parenthesis). Second, do Exponents. Third, do Multiplication. Fourth, do Division. Fifth, do Addition. And last, do Subtraction.

Note: Multiplication and Division are equal operations and are performed going left to right. The M before the D does not mean that multiplication goes before division.

Note: Addition and Subtraction are also equal operations and are performed going left to right. The A before the S does not mean that addition goes before subtraction.

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