ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Substitution. How to substitute numbers into expressions.

Updated on February 21, 2013

If you are given an expression and you are asked to substitute certain values into the expression, then you need to change the variables (letters) in the expression to their given values and work out the answer. Substitution is also referred to as plugging. It’s always a good idea to work down the page and not across the page. On the first line of working out substitute your values into the expression and then do any working directly underneath.


Substitute the values x = 5 and y = 8 into the following expressions:

a) x + 6

b) x + y

c) 3x + 9

d) 2x + 6y

e) 7x – y

f) 3x² + 2y

g) x - 2y


a) x + 6

= 5 + 6 (first substitute your value of x into the expression)

= 11

b) x + y

= 5 + 8 (this time substitute both values for x and y into the expression)

= 13

c) 3x + 9

= 3 × 5 + 8 (this time substitute x into the expression and remember that 3x means 3 multiplied by x).

= 23

d) 2x + 6y

= 2 × 5 + 6 × 8 (this time substitute x and y into the expression)

= 10 + 48 (work out the multiplications first then the addition)

= 58

e) 7x – y

= 7 × 5 – 8 (again both values of x and y need to be plugged into the expression)

= 35 – 8 (work out the multiplication before the subtraction)

= 27

f) 3x² + 2y

3 × 5² + 2 × 8 (again plug in the values of x and y)

3 × 25 + 16 (first square the 5)

75 + 16 (next do the multiplication)

= 91 (finally carry out the addition)

g) x - 2y

= 5 - 2 × 8 (sub in x = 5 and y = 8)

= 5 -16 (work out the multlication before the subtraction)

= -11 (make sure you include the negative sign)

Example 2

If z = 2ab + c², work out the value of z when a = 4 b = 10 and c = 9.

All you need to do here is substitute the values of a, b and c to work out the value of z.

z = 2ab + c²

z = 2 × 4 × 10 + 9² (2ab means 2 × a × b)

z = 80 + 81

z = 161

So to recap, substitute means change the letters in the expression or formula to their numerical values. Also set your


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Joan Whetzel 

    6 years ago

    Great Explanation.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)