# Subtraction of Literals

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Here we discuss about the Subtraction of Literals.

If we are asked to subtract 5 from 6, then we write 6 – 5.
( whatever number is there after from that we have to write first). When we are asked to subtract a number say 2 from a literal a, we write
a – 2 and is read as ‘a minus 3’. Note that a – 3 can also be read as ‘3 less than a literal number a’.
Similarly, if b is subtracted from a, we write a – b. We can also read a – b as ‘b less than a’.
If a is subtracted from b, then we write b – a. (a – b) – c means that b is subtracted from a and then c is to be subtracted from the result. We can also say that c is subtracted from the difference of b from a.
It should be noted that Commutativity and Associativity of subtraction are not true for literals as they are not true for numbers.

Examples :

Write each of the following phrases using numbers, literals and the basic operation of subtraction:
(i) 4 less than a literal y
Solution: y - 4

(ii) Decrease b by 6
Solution: b - 6

(iii) Subtract 3 from c
Solution: c - 3

(iv) y less than the sum of z and 7
Solution: y - (z + 7 )

(v) Decrease the sum of x and y by z
Solution: (x + y) - z

(vi) a is diminished by 2
Solution: a - 2

(vii) a less 3
Solution: a - 3

(viii) Decrease c by 8
Solution: c - 8

(ix) Subtract 5 from d
Solution: d - 5

(x) 5 is diminished by d
Solution: 5 - d

Introduction to Algebra