What Is a Mathematical Verbal Expression?

A mathematical verbal expression is a translation into words of an algebraic expression that can consist of different operations, numbers and variables. An example of this is translating the mathematical equation or phrase “90 – 4(a + 8)” to the verbal expression “90 decreased by 4 times the sum of a number “a” and 8.”

In math, students also may have to translate a verbal expression into an algebraic expression or equation. This is commonly used in word problems, where students must look for specific words that identify the operation needed to solve the problem. Some examples of these words are decreased by, increased by, less than, more than, sum of a number and “x,” and the total of two numbers.