Math word problems contain words or phrases that give clues about how the problem should be solved. Here are some common words or phrases students might encounter:

### Addition

**Sum** as in, *The sum of 2, 4, and 6 . . .*

**Total** as in, *The total of the first six payments . . .*

**Addition** as in, *A recipe calls for the addition of five pints** . . .*

**Plus** as in, *Three liters plus two liters . . .*

**Increase** as in, *Her pay was in,creased by $15 . . .*

**More than** as in, *This week the enrollment was eight more than last **week*

**Added to** as in, *If you added $3 to the cost **. . .*

**Successive** as in, *The total of six successive payments . . .*

### Subtraction

**Difference** as in, *What is the difference between . . .*

**Fewer** as in, *There were fifteen fewer men than women . . .*

**Remainder** as in, *How many are left or what quantity remains **. . .*

**Less** as in, *A number is five less than another number **. . .*

**Reduced** as in, *The budget was reduced by $5,000 **. . .*

**Decreased** as in, *If he decreased the speed of his car by ten miles per hour . . .*

**Minus** as in, *Some number minus 9 is . . .*

### Multiplication

**Product** as in, *The product of 8 and 5 is **. . .*

**Of** as in, *One-half of the group **. . .*

**Times** as in, *Five times as many girls as boys **. . .*

**At** as in, *The cost of ten yards of fabric at $16 a yard is **. . .*

**Total** as in, *If you spend $25 a week on gas, what is the total for a **three-week period . . .*

**Twice** as in, *Twice the value of some number **. . .*

### Division

**Quotient** as in, *The final quotient is **. . .*

**Divided** **by** as in, *Some number divided by 12 is **. . .*

**Divided into** as in, *The group was divided into . . .*

**Ratio** as in, *What is the ratio of **. . .*

**Half** as in, *Half the profits are **. . . (dividing by 2)*

As you work a variety of word problem types, you'll discover more "clue" words.

Be sensitive to what each of these questions is asking. What time? How many? How much? How far? How old? What length? What is the ratio?

With practice, your approach to word problem questions that crop up in homework, on exams, and across standardized tests will add up to two syllables — CAN DO!