Note:
If you would like an in-depth review of fractions, click on Fractions.
Solve for x in the following equation.
Example 1:
Recall that you cannot divide by zero. Therefore, the first fraction is
valid if , the second fraction is valid if and the third fraction is valid is .
If either or turn out to be the solutions,
you must discard them as extraneous solutions.
Rewrite the problem so that every denominator is factored
Multiply both sides by the least common multiple (the smallest number that all the denominators
will divide into evenly). This step will eliminate all the denominators in
the equation. The resulting equation may be equivalent (same solutions as
the original equation) or it may not be equivalent (extraneous
solutions),
which is equivalent to
which can be rewritten as
which can be rewritten again as
which can be rewritten yet again as
No Solution
Since we stated at the beginning of the problem that , the only
conclusion is that there is no solution. How can that be?. When we
transformed the original equation into an equation without denominators, the
new equation was not equivalent to the original equation. You can verify
this by graphing both equations. Why did we do it? Because the second
equation is easier to solve. The down side is that we might turn up a wrong
answer (extraneous solution). So CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!
Check this answer in the original equation. Verify that it will not check.
Check the solution x=-2 by substituting -2 in the original equation for
x. If the left side of the equation equals the right side of the equation
after the substitution, you have found the correct answer.
Since the left side of the original equation is not equal to the right side
of the original equation after we substitute the value -2 for x, then
x=-2 is a not solution.
You can also check your answer by graphing (formed by subtracting the right side of
the original equation from the left side). Look to see where the graph
crosses the x-axis; that will be the real solution. Note that the graph
never crosses the x-axi. This means that there are no real solutions.
If you would like to test yourself by working some problems similar to this
example, click on Problem
If you would like to go back to the equation table of contents, click on
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