What Is a Word Equation?

Word equations are equations in which mathematical operations are applied to words instead of numbers. Word equations are commonly used in chemistry and are used to show common chemical reactions. Word equations are written with the name of the substance instead of the chemical abbreviation.

A basic word equation would be hydrogen gas + oxygen gas = steam. If the abbreviations and amounts are used in the equation, it is called a symbolic equation. In mathematics, a word equation could be used as an intermediate step in a word problem. One example could be boys + girls = total number of people.