What Is Commutative Property and Why Does It Matter?

In mathematics, the property is a concept that relates different equations or two given conditions. This article will explore the term commutative property and its significance in algebra. This may not seem fascinating, but it significantly impacts how algebraic equations are solved. If you’ve ever taken a math class, you’ve almost certainly encountered the word “property” at some point.

One of the most common properties to encounter in a mathematical context is commutativity – and for a good reason! The term commutative property refers to an equation being able to be solved without changing any of the values in that equation. If we replace one value with another value in an equation without altering anything else. Solving the original equation will still give us the same answer.

What is Commutative Property?

The commutative property means that a change of one quantity does not change the value of another quantity. This is a significant property for solving equations. As it means that we can replace one value of one variable with another without having to change anything else about the equation.

What is Commutative Property

Why is Commutative Property Important?

Suppose we want to solve an equation, but we can’t change any of the values in the equation. (For example, we’re trying to solve for x by plugging in a different value of y, but the equation isn’t going to work unless we solve it for y, too). In that case, we have to solve it a different way. If the equation is commutative, we don’t need to change anything; we have to plug in values and solve. The commutative property is a big deal because it means that equations can be solved differently. Creating uncertainty differently and—as a result—generating a different result.

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Examples of Commutative Equations

Here are a few examples of commutative equations where the values of x and y are arbitrary. 2x + 3 = 5. This equation can be solved with no change to the values of either x or y by taking the opposite operation. So, labeling the equation as 2x + 3 = -5, we can rewrite the equation as -2x = -5. This equation is now commutative, as changing one value doesn’t change the other – now, we’re just trying to solve for x. 3y = -2x + 3. This equation is commutative because it contains a negative y and a positive x.

Notation for Commutativity

Another proper notation is the following: \[ \Rightarrow \] This is a short form of the “and/or” symbol. Which can be helpful when we have several equations with one or more common factors. For example, let’s say we have the following three equations, Both equations have the same value for x and y, and both equations have the same value for z. However, the first equation has the number 3 written in z, and the second has the number -2 written in z. Note that the first equation has a different factor than both other equations, so we can use a short form to represent this:

Notation for Commutativity

Other Consequences of Commutativity in Algebra

Commutativity also applies to order or order of operations. If we have the expression x + 2y + 3z, where x, y and z can be any combination of the variables. Then this expression is equivalent to subtracting 2y from both x and z and multiplying y by 3. So, the order of operations tells us to perform these operations in this order. In contrast, the commutative property tells us that we don’t need to change any values to correct the order of operations.

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How to Test for Commutativity?

A quick and easy way to test for commutativity is to subtract the first equation from the second. If the result is zero, then the equations are commutative. If the result is not zero, then one of the equations is not commutative. The commutative property is not always the case in algebra. When we work with polynomials, the equation is usually non-commutative. We usually have one variable which is constant (like x is constant in the equation above). Polynomial equations can be solved in two ways, one way is by finding the roots (roots are variables), and the second way is by factoring the equation.

Different Types of Discriminants in Algebra

Different Types of Discriminant in Algebra

A discriminant is a value used to help classify a linear equation. Discriminants are typically calculated when working with algebraic equations, but they can also be used with quadratic and even polynomial equations. As well as solving equations, the commutative property allows us to create new types of discriminants in algebra. Commutativity can be used in two ways to increase an equation’s discriminant. First, we can take a constant out of an equation and then add it back in, which creates a new non-commutative equation that increases the discriminant. Second, we can take one variable out of an equation and multiply it by another to create a new type of discriminant that also increases the discriminant.


Commutativity is a significant property and is fundamental to algebra. The commutative property allows us to solve equations, create new types of discriminants, and change the order of operations to solve equations. The commutative property is not always the case in algebra, and it can be used to increase the discriminant of equations.

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