# What are the four operations of arithmetic, and what are their operation signs?.

May 28th, 2015
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ALGEBRA IS A METHOD OF WRITTEN CALCULATIONS that help us reason about numbers. At the very outset, the student should realize that algebra is a skill. And like any skill -- driving a car, baking cookies, playing the guitar -- it

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ALGEBRA IS A METHOD OF WRITTEN CALCULATIONS that help us reason about numbers. At the very outset, the student should realize that algebra is a skill. And like any skill -- driving a car, baking cookies, playing the guitar -- it requires practice. A lot of practice. Written practice. That said, let us begin.The first thing to note is that in algebra we use letters as well as numbers. But the letters represent numbers. We imitate the rules of arithmetic with letters, because we mean that the rule will be true for any numbers.The letters a and b mean Whatever numbers are in the numerators. The letter c means Whatever number is in the denominator. The rule means:"Whatever those numbers are, add the numerators and write their sum over the common denominator."Algebra is telling us how to do any problem that looks like that. That is one reason why we use letters. (The symbols for numbers, after all, are nothing but written marks. And so are letters As the student will see, algebra depends only on the patterns that the symbols make.)The numbers are the numerical symbols, while the letters are called literal symbols.Question 1. What are the four operations of arithmetic, andwhat are their operation signs?. 1) Addition: a + b. The operation sign is + , and is called the plus sign. Read a + b as "a plus b." For example, if a represents 3, and b represents 4, then a + b represents 7.2) Subtraction: a ? b. The operation sign is ? , and is called the minus

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