Here we have a key to help decipher what lots of our mathematical symbols mean. Across the world, mathematical symbols can be written slightly differently even though they represent the same thing. The purpose of this key is to clear up these differences to allow everyone to learn despite having been taught slight differences in the use of symbols.
This may also help remind us what some symbols represent if we have forgotten them or if our teacher has assumed we know what they mean when we actually don't.
There are many ways of symbolizing multiplication and it can even be assumed that, in certain situations, numbers and variables written beside each other, without a symbol, can mean multiplication.
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written beside each other without a symbol
Often we will see expressions written like 2x or 5a or 2gh. When we have a number written beside a letter with no symbols, it is assumed that this means multiplication. You may also see just letters written beside each other. For example, Force being equal to mass time acceleration being written as f = ma
Mathematicians are lazy and like to remove any extra work that is deemed unnecessary!
To review, the table below equates different ways of writing multiplication.
|words||x||⋅ or||brackets||no symbols|
|two times four||2 x 4||2⋅4||(2)(4)||24 *|
|three times eight||3 x 8||3⋅8||(3)(8)||38 *|
|one half times 5||½ x 5||½ ⋅ 5||(½)(5)||½5 *|
|six times "X"||6 x X||6⋅X||(6)(X)||6X|
|two times one times five||2 x 1 x 5||2⋅1⋅5||(2)(1)(5)||215 *|
|seven times "a"||7 x a||7⋅a||(7)(a)||7a|
|mass (m) times acceleration (a)||m x a||m⋅a||(m)(a)||ma|
|"g" times "h" times "p"||g x h x p||g⋅h⋅p||(g)(h)(p)||ghp|
* - does not work!
Like multiplication, differentiation has different symbols for showing the derivative. below are some you will see alongside why they may be used.