Solving Linear Systems of Equations by Elimination
A second algebraic method for finding the solution of a system of linear
equations is the elimination method.
This method allows us to add two equations to form a new equation. Why
add the two equations? In some instances this will result in a new equation
that has only one variable. This new equation may then be solved to find
the value of that variable.
The following example shows how to solve a linear system by elimination.
The elimination method makes use of the
Addition Principle of Equality which states
that you can add equivalent quantities to
both sides of an equation without changing
the solutions of the equation.
To Solve a Linear System By Elimination
Step 1 Eliminate one variable.
â€¢ If necessary, multiply both sides of one or both equations by an
appropriate number so that the coefficients of one variable are
â€¢ Add the new equations to form a single equation in one
â€¢ Solve the equation.
Step 2 Substitute the value found in Step 1 into either of the
original equations and solve.
Step 3 To check the solution, substitute it into each original
equation. Then simplify.
Use elimination to find the solution of this system.
4x + 3y = 13 First equation
5x - 6y = 52 Second equation
The coefficients of the x-terms are not opposites.
The coefficients of the y-terms are not opposites.
So, adding the equations will not eliminate a variable.
However, the coefficients of y can be made opposites by multiplying both
sides of the first equation by 2.
|Step 1 Eliminate one variable.
Multiply both sides of the
first equation by 2.
2(4x + 3y = 13)
→ 8x + 6y
|Add the two equations.
Notice the coefficients of y,
6 and -6, are opposites.
Simplify. The y-terms have been eliminated.
Divide both sides by 13.
Now we know x = -2.
Next we will find y.
|Step 2 Substitute the value found in Step 1 into either of the original
equations and solve.
|We will use the first equation.
Substitute -2 for x.
Add 8 to both sides.
Divide both sides by 3.
The solution is (-2, 7).
| 4x + 3y
4(-2) + 3y
-8 + 3y
|Step 3 To check the solution, substitute it into each original equation.
Substitute -2 for x and 7 for y into each original equation and then
In each case, the result will be a true statement. The details of the check
are left to you.