The Steps to Solving Word Problems and Valuable Key Words Study Guide (page 2)

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Updated on Oct 3, 2011

Using Key Words

There are many common key words that appear in math word problems, and using key words and phrases is very helpful when you are deciding on the operation or operations needed. These key words should be underlined or highlighted when you are devising your plan to solve each problem. Here are examples of some frequently used key words and phrases, along with the symbol or operation they represent.

      Addition ( + )
      sum, increased, combine, plus, more than, total
      Subtraction ( – )
      difference, decreased, less than, take away
      Multiplication ( × )
      product, times, factor, twice (×2), triple (×3)
      Division ( ÷ )
      quotient, divide, into, out of, split up, break up
      Equal ( = )
      is, total, result, same as, equivalent to
      Greater than ( > )
      is more than, is greater than, is larger than, above
      Greater than or equal to ( ≥ )
      minimum, at least, is not less than, is not smaller than
      Less than ( < )
      is smaller than, is less than, below
      Less than or equal to ( ≤)
      maximum, at most, is not more than, is not greater than

The key words mentioned in the list are often used in math word problems, so look out for these in the problems in this book, or any other word problems you may come across.


Be careful with certain key phrases that are similar.

      more than can mean "addition"
      is more than can mean "is greater than ( > )"
      less than can mean "subtract"
      is less than can mean "is less than ( < )"

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