# What's another way to say 'math operations'?

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#### emma.learns

##### Senior Member
Dear all,

What do we call math operations such as '3 + 5 - 6'?

It's not an equation unless it's '3+5-6=2', right?

An online dictionary tells me it's formula but I don't think so.

Thank you!

• #### Tofail

##### Senior Member
It's not an equation unless it's '3+5-6=2', right? Yes, you are correct.

Unless you use equation sign it is just a series of numbers.
It is surely not a formula.

#### emma.learns

##### Senior Member
Any names for that? We do have a word for it in my first language.

I feel odd to call it 'math operations', maybe it's even wrong?

#### Tofail

##### Senior Member
Any names for that? We do have a word for it in my first language.

I feel odd to call it'math operations', maybe it's even wrong?
In my understanding, you want to name " 1+2+3-6", correct?
What about my suggestion "series of numbers". I never mention it as 'math operations'.
My first question to you, is it really bear any mathematical value if we just leave it as it is? It is numbers with signs, but only the sign itself could not make any sense in math.
If you are a student of math you know 1+2+6+8+........., 2+4+6+8+10+......., or 1+2+9+8+44+........ have different meaning.

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#### wandle

##### Senior Member
What do we call math operations such as '3 + 5 - 6'?
We can call that a mathematical operation or, more precisely, an arithmetical operation.

In ordinary usage, such as schoolwork, we call it a sum.

For example, the teacher might write it on the board and say to the class, 'Who can do this sum?'

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#### PaulQ

##### Senior Member
What do we call math operations such as '3 + 5 - 6'?
I would call it "a sum". It does not matter that there is a negative number within the sum.

(crosspost with wandle, with whom I agree.)

#### london calling

##### Senior Member
When I was a child at school these were known as 'problems' or 'sums'. They are however arithmetical operations.

Thank you!

#### natkretep

##### Moderato con anima (English Only)
In mathematics, an expression or mathematical expression is a finite combination of symbols that is well-formed according to rules that depend on the context. Mathematical symbols can designate numbers (constants), variables, operations, functions, brackets, punctuation, and grouping to help determine order of operations, and other aspects of logical syntax.
Expression (mathematics) - Wikipedia
Expression
Numbers, symbols and operators (such as + and ×) grouped together that show the value of something.

Example: 2×3 is an expression
Definition of Expression

#### Truffula

##### Senior Member
I agree with natkretep, it is an expression.

If it is addition only it can also be called a sum, and if it is subtraction it can be called a difference.

Also, if it contains variables or constants represented by letters rather than numbers, and only multiplication, addition, and subtraction, it is a polynomial: x + 4 is a polynomial, so is 3x - 2y...

But "expression" is the most general and useful term.

Also, "math operations" are the things like addition, subtraction, division, exponentiation, and so on. The symbols (+, -, x, etc) are called "operators."

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