Revision as of 21:57, 22 April 2018 by Tauros (talk | contribs)

Substitution is a relatively universal method to solve simultaneous equations. It is generally introduced in a first year high school algebra class. A solution generally exists when the number of equations is exactly equal to the number of unknowns. The method of solving by substitution includes:

1. Isolation of a variable 2. Substitution of variable into another equation to reduce the number of variables by one 3. Repeat until there is a single equation in one variable, which can be solved by means of other methods.


Solve $x+y=-1, 3x-y=5$ for $(x,y)$.

Start with $x+y=-1$.

$x+y=-1$ Subtract $x$ from both sides.

$y=-x-1$ $y$ is now isolated.

Substitute $(-x-1)$ for the y in $3x-y=5.$

$3x-(-x-1)=5$ Distribute the negative sign.

$3x+x+1=5$ Combine like terms.

$4x+1=5$ Subtract 1 from both sides.

$4x=4$ Divide both sides by four.


x is now solved for, so substitute x into one of the original equations.

$1+y=-1$ Subtract 1 from both sides.



You can check this answer by plugging x and y into the original equations.

This same method is used for simultaneous equations with more than two equations.

Invalid username
Login to AoPS