Introduction to Word Problems

In algebra word problems are commonplace, though they confuse many. Use this free lesson to help you learn how to solve word problems.


Let's practice with a couple more problems. You can solve these problems the same way we solved the first one—just follow the problem-solving steps we covered earlier. For your reference, these steps are:

  1. Read through the problem carefully, and figure out what it's about.
  2. Represent unknown numbers with variables.
  3. Translate the rest of the problem into a mathematical expression.
  4. Solve the problem.
  5. Check your work.

If you get stuck, you might want to review the problem on page 1. You can also take a look at our lesson on writing algebraic expressions for some tips on translating written words into math.

Problem 1

Try completing this problem on your own. When you're done, move on to the next page to check your answer and see an explanation of the steps.

A single ticket to the fair costs $8. A family pass costs $25 more than half of that. How much does a family pass cost?

Problem 2

Here's another problem to do on your own. As with the last problem, you can find the answer and explanation to this one on the next page.

Flor and Mo both donated money to the same charity. Flor gave three times as much as Mo. Between the two of them, they donated $280. How much money did Mo give?