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Chapter 1

Linear Equations in
Two Variables
1.1 Introduction
You are already familiar with linear equations in two variables. The general form of a linear
equation in two variables x and y is
ax + by + c = 0, a 0, b 0,
a, b and c being real numbers. A solution of such an equation is a pair of values, one for x
and the other for y, which makes the two sides of the equation equal. Recall that every
linear equation in two variables has infinitely many solutions. All these solutions are represented
by points on a certain line.
In this chapter, by an equation we shall mean a linear equation in two variables unless
stated otherwise. We often study more than one equation in the same two variables at the
same time. When we do so, the equations under consideration are said to form a system of
equations or simultaneous equations. For example,
and

2x 3y + 4 = 0
x + 7y 1 = 0

form a system of two linear equations in the variables x and y.


We shall restrict ourselves to a pair of linear equations in two variables. Each equation
of the pair has infinitely many solutions. We shall examine several methods of finding
common solutions of these equations, if these solutions exist.
1.2 Graphical Solutions of a Linear Equation in Two Variables : Review
Recall that to find a solution of a linear equation in two variables, we assign any value to one
of the two variables and then determine the value of the other variable from the given
equation. Thus, taking x = 1 in
x y + 5 = 0,

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we get y = 6. This determines the solution


x = 1, y = 6,
and a point (1, 6) in the Cartesian plane.
Having obtained two solutions of a given equation, we plot the corresponding points, say, P
and Q. The line PQ through these points is related with the given equation in the following
manner:
1. Every solution x = r, y = s of the given equation determines a point (r, s) that lies on this line.
2. Every point (m, n) lying on the line PQ, determines a solution x = m, y = n of the given
equation.
The line PQ is known as the graph of the given equation. It is customary to say that the
line PQ represents the given equation.
Recall that:
1. We can add/subtract any number on both sides of the equation without affecting the
equation and its solutions.
2. We can multiply or divide both sides of an equation by a non-zero number without affecting
the equation and its solutions.
1.3 Graphical Solution of a Pair of Linear Equations in Two Variables

y=

2x

+1

So far you have studied a single linear equation in two variables. Such an equation represents
a simple relationship between two quantities.
Y
For example, suppose that the price of an
orange is Re 1 more than the cost of 2
bananas. Let x and y respectively denote, Q(1,6) 6
in rupees, the price of 1 banana and 1
B(2,5)
orange. Then we have
y = 2x + 1

1 A(0, 1)
2

1 O
1

2
5

(1, 3)
y=
+2

0
1

3x

Thus, the relationship between the cost


of a banana and the cost of an orange is
given by a linear equation in two variables.
The graph of equation (1), i.e., the line AB
representing equation (1) is shown in
Fig.1.1. We use the following solutions to
plot AB:
x
y

(1)

P(3, 0)
3 4

Fig. 1.1

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In our daily life, we often come across a relationship between two quantities that are
expressible by an equation such as (1). Again, out of practical considerations, we are interested
in several such equations simultaneously. For example, suppose that it is known in case of
the above example of bananas and oranges that 3 bananas and 2 oranges together cost Rs 9.
Then in addition to equation (1) above, x and y must satisfy the following equation also:
3x + 2y = 9

(2)

The graph of equation (2) or the line PQ representing the solutions of equation (2) is also
shown in Fig. 1.1. We use the following solutions to plot the line PQ:
x

Recall that a point (a, b) on the line AB tells us that


if a banana costs Rs a and an orange costs Rs b, then the cost of
an orange will be Re 1 more than the cost of 2 bananas. (A)
Similarly, a point ( p, q) on the line PQ tells us that
if the cost of a banana is Rs p and that of an orange is Rs q, then
3 bananas and 2 oranges would together cost Rs 9.
(B)
The situation demands that both the conditions (A) and (B) must be satisfied
simultaneously. In other words, we want a pair of prices (x, y) that satisfies both the
equations (1) and (2) at the same time. Thus, we are looking for a point (m, n) which lies on
both the lines AB and PQ. This requires that
x = m, y = n
must be a solution of equation (1) as well as that of equation (2), i.e., x = m, y = n must be a
common solution of both the equations (1) and (2).
From Fig.1.1, we notice that the point (1, 3) lies on both the lines AB and PQ. This
means that
x = 1, y = 3
is a solution of both the equations (1) and (2). So, if we take the cost of a banana to be Re
1 and that of an orange to be Rs 3, then
1 orange costs Re 1 more than 2 bananas
and also
3 bananas and 2 oranges together cost Rs 9.

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Finding common solutions of two or more equations is an important task in the study of
algebra because it helps us in finding solutions to numerous practical problems. Clearly, by a
common solution of two (or more) equations in x and y, we mean
a pair of values, one for x and the other for y, which satisfy both
(all) the equations simultaneously.
The equations under consideration are said to form a system of equations. Finding a
common solution is described as solving the system of equations.
Let us consider an example to see how to obtain a common solution of two given equations.
Let us find a common solution of the following equations:
and

xy=0
x+y=2

(1)
(2)

Now, each of (1) and (2) has infinitely many solutions. We have to find a solution,
x = x0 , y = y0
say, which satisfies both (1) and (2), if such a solution exists at all.
If we can find any two solutions of (1), we can have a clue to all its solutions by drawing
its graph. We observe that
x = 0, y = 0 and x = 2, y = 2

are two solutions of (1). We plot the points O(0, 0)


and P(2, 2) and draw the line passing through the
points O and P(Fig.1.2).
Every point on the line OP provides a solution of
equation (1). For example, the point (3, 3) lies on
OP. Verify that x = 3 and y = 3 is a solution of (1);
( 1, 1) lies on OP and we find that x = 1, y =
1 is a solution of (1). Now the question is : which
of the infinitely many solutions of (1), if at all,
is also a solution of equation (2)?

0
=
y
x P(2, 2)

2
1
O (0,0)

1
2

Fig. 1.2

Obviously, we cannot test each and every solution of (1) to see if it is a solution of (2) or
not. So we shall have to think of something practical. One good idea is to plot the lines
representing equations (1) and (2) in the same Cartesian plane and with the same axes.
Then we shall be able to spot the common solution(s), if any. Let us find any two solutions
of equation (2).

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Two solutions of equation (2) are given in the table below:


x

0
0

y=
2

Let us plot the points A(2, 0) and B (0, 2) on the


same graph as in Fig.1.2 and get Fig.1.3. Let us
draw the line AB. Notice that every point on line
OP provides one solution of equation (1), so also
every point on line AB provides one solution of
equation (2). What about the point T(1, 1) which is
common to both the lines OP and AB? Since T lies
on OP, x = 1 and y = 1 is a solution of equation (1).

x+

2 B(0, 2)
1
1

y=

P(2, 2)

T(1, 1)
A(2, 0)
O (0,0) 2
3

Since T lies on AB, x = 1 and y = 1


is a solution of equation (2) also.

Fig. 1.3

Thus, we have got a common solution of equations (1) and (2). We express this by saying
that x = 1, y = 1 is a solution of the system of equations
and

xy=0
x+y=2

Having found one common solution, let us try to determine whether there exists any other
common solution. Observe that if x = a, y = b is a common solution, then the point (a, b)
must lie on both the lines AB and OP. Since two given distinct lines can intersect in at the
most one point, there is no other common solution.
Let us recapitulate what we have learnt. To find a common solution of two given equations,
we follow the procedure given below:
1. Find two solutions of each of the equations, plot the points corresponding to these solutions
and draw the lines representing the given equations by joining corresponding points.
2. The point of intersection of the lines provides the unique common solution (unless the
lines are parallel or coincident).
Example 1 : Find common solution (if any) of the pair of equations
2x + 3y = 6
4x + 6y = 24

(1)
(2)

Solution : The first step is to find two solutions of each of the given equations in order to
draw the lines representing these equations. Recall that in order to find a solution, we
generally give the values 0, + 1, + 2 etc. to either variable and determine the other variable.

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This helps us in getting two convenient (integral) solutions. Doing so, we get the following
solutions:
Equation (1) :

x
y

0
2

3
0

Equation (2) :

x
y

0
4

6
0

Plotting the points A(0, 2) and B(3, 0), we get the line AB representing equation (1) (Fig.1.4).
Similarly, we get the line PQ through P(0, 4) and Q(6, 0). This represents equation (2).
Y
P(0, 4)
3
A(0, 2)

4x

+6

y=

1
1 O
1

24

B(3, 0)
3
4

Q(6, 0)
5 6
2x
+3
y=
6

Fig. 1.4

To get a common solution, we have to locate the common point, i.e., the point of intersection
of these two lines. However, the lines AB and PQ are parallel and, therefore, do not meet
at any point. We conclude that equations (1) and (2) do not have a common solution.
Now consider the lines represented by the following equations :
x+ y=3

(3)

7x + 7y = 21

(4)

This time, when we try to draw the graphs of the equations, we end up with the same line,
i.e., the lines are coincident. So, how many common points do we have? Surely every point
is a common point. Hence, every point on the line determines a common solution. Thus, the
system of equations (3) and (4) has infinitely many common solutions.
We may now summarise the behaviour of lines representing a system of two linear
equations in two variables and the existence of common solutions as follows:

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A. The lines may intersect in a single point.


In this case, the equations have a unique common solution.
B. The lines may be parallel.
In this case, the equations have no common solution.
C. The lines may be coincident.
In this case, the equations have infinitely many common solutions.
Remark : Generally, we are interested in finding the common solution because of practical
considerations. Therefore, we shall mainly be interested in case (A) where the equations
have a unique solution.
Example 2 : Solve graphically the system of equations
and

5x y 7 = 0
xy+1=0

(1)
(2)

Solution : Let us draw the graphs of equations (1) and (2). To do this, we find two solutions
of each of the equations (1) and (2).
Y

0
7

1
2

x
y

1
0

0
1

3
P(1, 0)

Now, every point on line AB gives us a solution of


equation (1). Every point on PQ gives us a solution of
equation (2). We observe that there is a point T (2, 3)
common to the lines AB and PQ. Therefore, this point
gives a solution to both of the equations (1) and (2).
Hence, the solution of equations (1) and (2) is

0 T(2, 3)

Q(0, 1)
2

We plot the points A(0, 7) and B(1, 2). The line


AB through the points (0, 7) and (1, 2) is the graph
of equation (1). Similarly, the line PQ through the
points P(1, 0) and Q(0, 1) is the graph of equation
(2) (Fig. 1.5).

1
y+

1
2
3
4
5

B(1, 2)
7=0

xy+1=0:

x
y

5x y

5x y 7 = 0 :

6
7 A(0, 7)

x = 2 and y = 3.
Fig. 1.5
Verification : Putting x = 2 and y = 3, we find that
both equations (1) and (2) are satisfied. This checks the solution.

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Remarks :
1. Verification is a must, if you are using the graphical method.
2. Try to locate the integer solutions so that you may plot the points in correct position.
Example 3 : Show that the following system of equations has no solution:
2x + 3y 1 = 0

(1)

3
y2=0
2

(2)

x+

Solution : Since we are supposed to show that no solution exists, perhaps the given
equations represent parallel lines. Let us draw the lines and find out. The following tables list
two suitable solutions of each of equations (1) and (2):
2x + 3y 1 = 0 :

x+

3
y2=0:
2

x
y

2
1

5
3

(1)

(2)

Plot the points A(2, 1) and B(5, 3). Draw the line AB. This represents equation (1). Plot
the points P(2, 0) and Q( 1, 2). Draw the line PQ. This represents equation (2). It can be
seen that AB and PQ are parallel lines. Since AB and PQ do not intersect (Fig. 1.6) and so
have no common point. Therefore, the given system of equations has no solution.
Note : Finding a solution of a system of equations means finding the unique common solution
of the equations constituting the system, if it exists, otherwise specifying whether these
equations have no common solution or have infinitely many distinct common solutions.
Q(1, 2)

2
1

P(2, 0)
1 O
2 3 x
5
+ 3
2
x
1 A(2, 1)
+3
2 y
y
2=
1=
0
2
0
3
B(5, 3)

Fig. 1.6

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Example 4 : How many distinct solutions, if at all, does the following system of equations
possess?
9x 7y + 1 = 0
2x

(1)

14
2
y+
=0
9
9

Solution : Multiplying equation (2) by

(2)

9
, we see that it can be re-written as follows :
2

9x 7y + 1 = 0
But this is the same as equation (1). Hence the lines represented by (1) and (2) are coincident.
Therefore, equations (1) and (2) have all their solutions common. So, the system has infinitely
many distinct solutions. In other words, the equations (1) and (2) of the system have infinitely
many distinct common solutions.
Example 5 : Draw the graphs of the equations
2x y = 8
8x + 3y = 24

and

(1)
(2)

Determine the vertices of the triangle formed by the lines representing these equations and
the x-axis. Shade the triangular region so formed.
Solution : We tabulate below two solutions of each of the given equations.

8x + 3y = 24 :

x
y

0
8

3
0

8 P(0, 8)

3y =
24

A(3, 2)

6
5
4
3
2
1

8x +

As usual, plotting the points A( 3, 2) and B( 4, 0), we


get the line AB representing equation (1) (Fig. 1.7).
Plotting the points P(0, 8) and Q(3, 0), we get line PQ
that represents equation (2), as shown in Fig. 1.7.
Now,
1. AB and PQ intersect in the point P(0, 8).
2. AB intersects the x-axis at B( 4, 0).
3. PQ intersects the x-axis at Q(3, 0).
Thus, the vertices of the triangle are (0, 8), ( 4, 0)
and (3, 0). The required shaded region is shown in
Fig. 1.7.

4
0

3
2

x
y

2x

2x y = 8 :

5 3 2 1 O 1 2
B(4, 0) 1
2

Fig. 1.7

Q(3, 0)
X
4

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EXERCISE 1.1
Solve those of the following systems of linear equations graphically which have a unique solution.
For others, state whether there is no solution or there are infinitely many solutions:
1. x 4y + 14 = 0
3x + 2y 14 = 0

2.

x+y=3
2x + 5y = 12

3. 3x 5y + 1 = 0

4.

2x + 7y = 14
35
5x +
y = 25
2
4x + 6y = 9
2x + 3y = 11

2x y + 3 = 0
5. 3x + 2y = 8
2x 3y = 1

6.

7. x 2y = 5
2x 4y 10 = 0

8.

2x 3y = 5
3x + 4y + 1 = 0

9. Draw the graphs of the equations


4x y = 4
and
4x + y = 12.
Determine the vertices of the triangle formed by the lines representing these equations and the
x-axis. Shade the triangular region so formed.
10. Determine the vertices of the triangle formed by the lines representing the equations
x + y = 5, x y = 5 and x = 0.

1.4 Algebraic Solution of a System of Linear Equations


In the previous section, we learnt how to solve a system of two linear equations in two
variables graphically. It is true that anything visual has a certain appeal, but as we realised,
it was often a trial-and-error method of finding solutions of an equation.
It was hard to find integer solutions in order to draw the required lines. The price for
non-integer solutions was lack of precision and accuracy in plotting the relevant points. Even
in case we could locate integer solutions for individual equations, the point of intersection
7 11

could have been something like 11 , 13 . You can appreciate that it would not be possible to

read such a point on a graph paper accurately.


To avoid such disadvantages of graphical method, we shall now discuss two algebraic
methods which yield correct results and do not keep us guessing or depending on a trial-anderror method.

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1.4.1 Elimination Method (by Substitution)


You know how to solve a linear equation in one variable. Suppose, we take the first of the
given linear equations in two variables x and y, and pretend that x is a constant and not a
variable. Then we can look upon this equation as a linear equation with a single variable y.
We can then solve it for y. Of course, the value so obtained will contain x. For example, let
us consider the system of equations
and

2x y = 3
4x y = 5

(1)
(2)

Solving equation (1) for y, pretending that x is a constant, we get


y = 2x 3

(3)

Now, substituting this value of y from (3) in equation (2), we get


4x (2x 3) = 5

(4)

Now y has been eliminated from (2). The resulting equation (4) is a linear equation in x
alone. Simplifying (4), we get
2x + 3 = 5
or
x=1
Substituting this value of x in (1), we get
2y=3
or
y=1
Thus, the given system of equations has the solution
x = 1 and y = 1.
Remarks :
1. You may verify that x = 1, y = 1 satisfy the given equations.
2. Equation (3) is the same as equation (1) (re-written). Therefore, to get the value of y,
after x had been obtained, we could have substituted x = 1 in equation (3) directly.
This method of solving a system of linear equations is known as the method of elimination
by substitution. Elimination, because we got rid of y or eliminated y from the second
equation, and Substitution, because we substituted the value of y in the second equation.
Example 6 : Solve the following system of linear equations using elimination by substitution :
3x + 2y = 14
(1)
x + 4y = 7
(2)
Solution : We shall eliminate x by substituting its value from one equation into the other.
We notice that x has coefficient 1 in equation (2). Let us re-write (2) as follows:
x = 4y 7

(3)

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Now x has been expressed in terms of y. Let us substitute this value of x from (3) in the
equation (1). This gives
3 (4y 7) +2y = 14

(4)

Now (4) is a linear equation in y; x has been eliminated. Simplifying (4), we get
or

14y 21 = 14
14y = 35

or

y=

5
2

Substituting this value of y in (3), we get


x = 4y 7
=4

5
7
2

=3
Thus, the solution of the system is
x = 3 and y =

5
2

Verification : Substituting x = 3 and y =

5
, we find that both the equations (1) and (2) are
2

satisfied. Hence, the solution is correct.


1.4.2

Elimination Method (by Equating Coefficients)

There is another method of eliminating one variable which is sometimes more convenient
than the above method. Suppose we wish to solve
23x 17y + 11 = 0
(1)
and
31x + 13y 57 = 0
(2)
Now expressing x in terms of y would involve division by 23 or 31. Expressing y in terms
of x would involve division by 17 or 13. Since multiplication is more convenient than division,
we shall convert the division process into a multiplication process. Multiplying the first equation
by 13 viz., coefficient of y in (2), and second by 17 viz., coefficient of y in (1), we get an
equivalent system of equations.
The new system has the advantage that y has the same numerical coefficient 1713 in
both the equations. If we add these new equations, the terms containing y cancel out as
these have opposite signs and the same numerical coefficient. (If they had the same sign, we
would have subtracted one from the other). Thus, y has been eliminated. We can now
proceed as before, and solve the system. This method of elimination is called elimination by
equating coefficients for obvious reasons.

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Example 7 : Solve the following system of equations using the elimination method by equating
coefficients :
11x 5y + 61 = 0

(1)

3x 20y 2 = 0

(2)

Solution : Let us multiply equation (1) by 3 and equation (2) by 11. This gives
and

33x 15y + 183 = 0

(3)

33x 220y 22 = 0

(4)

Subtracting (4) from (3), we get


205 y + 205 = 0
y=1

or

Substituting this value of y in equation (2), we get


3x 20 ( 1) 2 = 0
or

3x = 18

or

x=6

Thus, the required solution is


x = 6 and y = 1.
Verification : Substituting x = 6 and y = 1 in the given equations, we find that both the
equations are satisfied. Hence, the solution is correct.
Remark : If we multiply each equation by the coefficient of x in the other equation and
subtract one equation from the other, then x gets eliminated. Solving for y and substituting
the value of y in one equation, we get the value of x. But depending upon the given equations,
there might be an easier way. Here, we could have multiplied equation (1) by 4 and then
subtracted the equation so formed from equation (2). This would have eliminated y. The
solution would have been simpler. Try such labour saving devices whenever you can.
EXERCISE 1.2
Solve each of the following systems of equations by eliminating x (by substitution) :
1.

x+y=7
2x 3y = 11

4. 3x 5y = 1
5x + 2y = 19

2.

x+y=7
12x + 5y = 7

3. 2x 7y = 1
4x + 3y = 15

5. 5x + 8y = 9
2x + 3y = 4

Solve the following systems of equations by eliminating y (by substitution) :


6. 3x y = 3
7x + 2y = 20

7. 7x + 11y 3 = 0
8x + y 15 = 0

8. 3x + 4y 7 = 0
2x+y+2=0

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9. 2x + 7y 11 = 0
3x y 5 = 0

10. 2x + y 17 = 0
17x 11y 8 = 0

Solve the following systems of equations by elimination method (by equating coefficients of x or of y):
11. x 5y = 11
2x + 3y = 4

14. 3x + 5y = 7
11x 13y = 9

12. 4x 3y 8 = 0
6x y

13. 7x 8y 11 = 0

29
=0
3

15. 3x + 2y =

8x 7y 7 = 0

11
3

7x + 5y =

31
3

Solve the following systems of equations:


16.

2x y = 11
5x + 4y = 1

17. 6x + 5y = 2
5x + 6y = 9

18. 4x + 7y = 20
21x 13y = 21

19. 2x + 3y = 0

20. 23x 17y + 11 = 0

21.

3x + 4y = 5

31x + 13y 57 = 0

15 2
+ = 17
u v
1 1 36
+ =
u v 5

1
11 7
=1
22.
v u

[Hint: Write

= x,

1
v

= y. ]

9 4
=6
v u

23. Find the solution such that u 0, v 0 of the following :


7
11
uv, u + 3v =
uv
2u + v =
3
3
[Hint: Divide both sides by uv.]

1.5 Solution of a System of Linear Equations by Cross Multiplication


The algebraic method of solving a system of linear equations by the method of elimination by
substitution is effective only when the system has a unique solution. We shall now describe
another algebraic method of solving a system of linear equations that is applicable in all
cases. It tells us beforehand whether the system has a unique solution, no solution or infinitely
many solutions.

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Let us consider two equations


a1 x + b1 y + c1 = 0, a1 0, b1 0,
a2 x + b2 y + c2 = 0, a2 0, b2 0

(1)
(2)

where the coefficients are real numbers. Let us eliminate y by substitution. From (1), we
have
y=

1
(c1 + a1 x)
b1

[b1 0 given]

Substituting this value of y in (2), we get

a2 x + b2 b (c1 +a1 x) + c2 = 0
1

or
or
or
or

a2 x

b2 c1 b2 a1 x

+ c2 = 0
b1
b1

b c

b a
a 2 2 1 x + 2 1 + c2 = 0
b
b
1

(b1a2 b2 a1 ) x + (b2 c1 + b1c2 ) = 0 [Multiplying both sides by the non-zero number b1]

(a1b2 a2b1) x = b1c2 b2c1

(3)

Similarly, by eliminating x, we get


(a1b2 a2b1)y = c1a2 c2a1

(4)

Look at (3) and (4), each of which is a linear equation in a single variable (one in x and one
in y). It is tempting to divide (3) and (4) by a1b2 a2b1, and get the values of x and y. A word
of caution is in order here! We can divide only by a non-zero number. So we distinguish
between these two cases:
Case I : a1b2 a2b1 0
In this case dividing (3) and (4) by a1b2 a2b1, we get the values of x and y as

and

x=

b1c2 b2 c1
a1b2 a 2 b1

y=

c1a 2 c2 a1
a1b2 a 2 b1

We can re-write these relations as


x
1
=
b1c2 b2 c1 a1b2 a2b1

(5)

16.................................................................................................................................................... MATHEMATICS

y
1
=
c1a2 c2 a1 a1b2 a2 b1

and

(6)

Since (5) and (6) have the same RHS, we get


x
y
1
=
=
b1c2 b2 c1 c1a 2 c2 a1 a1b2 a 2 b1

(7 )

Thus in Case I, x and y can be obtained by using (7) as a formula. In the beginning, the
following aid to memory may be used in writing (7). [Later on, with practice, you will write
these relations mechanically in your own way!]
The given equations may be re-written as
a1 . x + b1 . y + c1 .1= 0
a2 . x + b2 . y + c2 .1= 0

and
Now think of

a1, a2, as coefficients of x,


b1, b2, as coefficients of y,
c1, c2, as coefficients of 1,
and write as follows :
x
y
1
a1
b1
c1
a2
b2
c2
Adjoin the first two columns of coefficients to the end and get
x
y
1
a1
b1
c1
a1
b1
a2
b2
c2
a2
b2
Now draw arrows as shown below:
x

a1

b1

c1

a1

a2

b2

c2

a2

b1

a1

b1

c1

a1

b2

a2

b2

c2

a2

(Denominator for x)

(Denominator for y)

Fig.1.8(a)

Fig.1.8(b)

b1

a1

b1

c1

a1

b1

b2

a2

b2

c2

a2

b2

(Denominator for 1)

Fig.1.8(c)

In each case, the down-arrow ( ) shows the term with a plus sign and the up-arrow( )
shows the term with a minus sign. Thus, we get

LINEAR EQUATIONS

IN

TWO VARIABLES................................................................................................................ 1 7

x
b1c2 b2 c1

y
c1a 2 c2 a1

1
a1b2 a 2 b1

Put the equality signs and you have got the relations (7) :
x
y
1
=
=
b1c2 b2 c1 c1a2 c2 a1 a1b2 a 2 b1

Since the denominators have been obtained by cross-multiplying the coefficients, this method
is known as the method of cross-multiplication for solving a system of linear equations.
Once the above scheme is understood, we can consolidate Figs. 1.8(a) to 1.8(c) as follows:
b1

c1

a2

c2

b2

a1

b1
b2

Fig. 1.9

Warning : You must be careful in applying formula (7). Often the equations are given not as
a1 x + b1 y + c1 = 0
(A)
and
a2 x + b2 y + c2 = 0
but as
and

}
}

a1 x + b1 y = c1
a2 x + b2 y = c2

(B)

If we write the equations not as (A) but as (B), then Fig. 1.9 should be replaced by the
following:
b1

b2

c1
c2

a1

a2

b1
b2

Fig. 1.10

Example 8 : Solve the following system of equations


2x 3y + 1 = 0
3x + 4y 5 = 0
Solution : Look at Fig.1.9. We begin writing the coefficients of y (bs), followed by constant
terms (cs), followed by the coefficients of x (as) and ending with the coefficients of y.

18.................................................................................................................................................... MATHEMATICS

This gives us (Fig. 1.11).


3

y
1

3
4

Fig. 1.11

Writing the values as in (7),


x
y
1
=
=
(3) (5) 4 1 1 3 (5) 2 2 4 3 (3)

or

x
y
1
=
=
15 4 3 (10) 8 (9)

or

x
y
1
=
=
11 13 17

x=

11
13
and y =
17
17

You may verify that these values of x and y satisfy the given equations. Hence, our solution
is correct.
Case II : a1b2 a2b1 = 0.
In this case, we cannot divide equations (3) and (4) by a1b2 a2b1 to get the values of x
and y. If
a1b2 a2b1 = 0,
then

a 1b 2 = a 2b 1

or

a1 b1
=
a2 b2 [Since a2 0, b2 0, division by a2, b2 is allowed.]

Let

a1 b1
=
=k
a 2 b2

Then

a1 = ka2 and b1 = kb2

Now there are two possibilities.


Possibility 1 : c1 = kc2
Here, equation (1) reduces to
ka2x + kb2 y + kc2 = 0 [Since a1 = ka2, b1 = ka2 and c1 = kc2]

LINEAR EQUATIONS

IN

TWO VARIABLES................................................................................................................ 1 9

or

k(a2 x + b2 y + c2) = 0

or

a2 x + b2 y + c2 = 0,

[As k

0]

which is the same as equation (2). Thus, every solution of one equation is a solution of the
other also. Hence, the system has infinitely many solutions.
Possibility 2 : c1 kc2
Here, equation (1) gives
ka2x + kb2 y + c1 = 0
or

k (a2 x + b2 y) + c1 = 0

or

k ( c2) + c1 = 0

or

c1 = kc2,

(Since a1= ka2, b1= kb2 )


[From equation (2)]

which is not true. Therefore, no solution exists.


The discussion of this section can be put together as follows:
Rule A: The system of equations
a1 x + b1 y + c1 = 0
a2 x + b2 y + c2 = 0

(A)

has exactly one, i.e., a unique solution if a1b2 a2b1 0


i.e., if

a1
b
1
a2
b2

a1
b1
Rule B : If a = b = k, say then the system (A)
2
2
(i) has infinitely many solutions provided c1= kc2 .
(ii) has no solution, if c1 kc2.

In this chapter, we shall restrict ourselves to the system of equations coming under
Rule A i.e., the case in which a1b2 a2b1 0.
Example 9 : Solve the following system of equations by cross multiplication method :
6x y = 3
7x + 4y = 9
Solution : Here a1 = 6, b1= 1, a2= 7 and b2= 4.
Therefore, a1b2 a2b1 = 6 4 7 ( 1)
= 31 0
Hence, the given system of equations has a unique solution.

20.................................................................................................................................................... MATHEMATICS

Now, using the scheme given in Fig.1.10 (See Fig.1.12), we get


x
y
1
=
=
(1)(9) (4)(3) (3)(7) (9)(6) (6)(4) (7)(1)

or

x
y
1
=
=
9 12 21 54 24 (7)

or

x
y
1
=
=
21 33 31

x=

or

x
3

Fig. 1.12

21
33
and y =
31
31

Example 10 : For which values of a, the system of equations


4x + ay + 5 = 0
2x + 3y + 7 = 0
has exactly one solution ?
Solution : Here a1 = 4, a2 = 2, b1 = a, b2 = 3.
a1b2 a2b1 = 4 3 2 a
= 12 2a

Now

For the given system to have exactly one solution,


12 2a 0
a6

or

Therefore, for all values of a except 6, the given system of equations will have exactly
one solution.
EXERCISE 1.3
Solve the following systems of equations by using cross multiplication method :
1. 2x + 3y = 7
6x 5y = 11

2.

3x 5y = 20
7x + 2y = 17

3. 7x 2y = 3
3
11x y = 8
2

4.

6x + 5y = 11

5. 4x + 7y = 10

6.

10x

35
y = 25
2

9x + 10y = 21
4x +

2
y 1 =0
3

6x y + 2 = 0

LINEAR EQUATIONS

7.

IN

TWO VARIABLES................................................................................................................ 2 1

5
3
x + y 1 = 0
3
5
3
5
x y+2=0
5
3

Find the values of p for which the following systems of equations have exactly one solution :
8. px + 2y = 5
3x + y = 1

9.

px + 3y = 7
2x y = 6

10. 9x + py 1 = 0
3x + 4y 2 = 0

11. 7x 5y 4 = 0
14x + py + 4 = 0

Solve the following systems of linear equations in x and y :


12. ax + by a + b = 0
bx ay a b = 0

13. x + y (a + b) = 0
ax by (a2 b2) = 0

14. a(x + y) + b(x y) (a2 ab + b2) = 0


a(x + y) b(x y) (a2 + ab + b2) = 0
15.

x y
+ 2=0
a b

16.

ax by + b2 a2 = 0

17.

x y
=0
a b
ax + by = a2 + b2

x y
+ =a+b
a b

y
b2

=2

18. ax + by = c
bx + ay = 1 + c

19. (a b)x + (a + b)y = a2 2ab b2


(a + b) (x + y) = a2 + b2

1.6 Applications to Practical Problems


As remarked earlier, the interest in solving systems of linear equations lies in the fact that
several types of practical problems may be reduced to solving a system of linear equations.
Let us solve some such problems.
Example 11 : If twice the sons age in years is added to the age of his father, the sum is
90. If twice the fathers age in years is added to the age of the son, the sum is 120. Find
their ages.
Solution : Let us assume that the age of son = x years
and
the age of father = y years

22.................................................................................................................................................... MATHEMATICS

Then, twice the sons age in years = 2x.


As given, twice the age of son + age of father = 90
or
2x + y = 90

(1)

Similarly, the second condition gives


x + 2y = 120

(2)

Adding (1) and (2),


3x + 3y = 210
or
x + y = 70

(3)

We may write equations (1) and (2) as


x + (x + y) = 90,
and

(x + y) + y = 120,

or

x = 20

and

y = 50

[As x + y = 70 from (3)]

Thus, sons age is 20 years and fathers age is 50 years.


Note: You may solve equations (1) and (2) by any method you like. Further, you are advised
to verify the solution (s) so obtained with given conditions.
Example 12 : The sum of a two-digit number and the number obtained by interchanging the
digits of the number is 110. The digits of the number differ by 6. How many such numbers
are there? Find all of them.
Solution : Let the tens and units digit in the number be x and y respectively. Thus, the
number in the expanded notation may be written as
10x + y

(Original number)

When the digits are reversed, x becomes the units digit and y becomes the tens digit. This
number in expanded notation is
10y + x

(Number with digits reversed)

According to the question,


(10x + y) + (10y + x) = 110
or

11(x + y) = 110

or

x + y = 10

(1)

We are given that the digits differ by 6. Therefore,


either

xy=6

(2)

or

yx=6

(3)

LINEAR EQUATIONS

IN

TWO VARIABLES................................................................................................................ 2 3

If x y = 6, then solving (1) and (2),


x = 8 and y = 2.
In this case, we get the number 82.
If y x = 6, then solving (1) and (3),
x = 2 and y = 8.
In this case, we get the number 28.
Thus, there are two such numbers, 82 and 28.
You may verify that both 82 and 28 satisfy the given conditions in this problem. When the
problem has more than one answer, obtain all the answers.
Example 13 : If the numerator of a fraction is multiplied by 2 and its denominator is
6
. If instead, we multiply the denominator by 2 and increase the
7
1
numerator by 2, it reduces to . What is the fraction (in lowest form)?
2

increased by 2, it becomes

Solution : Let the numerator and the denominator of the fraction be n and d respectively, so
that the fraction is

n
. According to the given conditions,
d

2n
6
n+2 1
=
=
and
d +2 7
2d
2
n
3
n+2
= and
=1
d +2 7
d

7n = 3(d + 2) and n + 2 = d
Substituting d = n + 2 from the second equation in the first, we get
or
or
or

7n = 3{(n + 2) + 2}
7n = 3n + 12
4n = 12
n=3
d=n+2=5

Thus, the required fraction is


Verification :

3
.
5

23 6
3+ 2 5 1
= and
=
= , as given.
5+2 7
2 5 10 2

Hence, the obtained solution is correct.

24.................................................................................................................................................... MATHEMATICS

Example 14 : Mala purchased 5 chairs and 2 tables for Rs 1625. Reshma purchased
2 chairs and 1 table for Rs 750. Find the cost per chair and per table.
Solution : Assume that a chair costs Rs x and a table costs Rs y. Then 5 chairs will cost
Rs 5x and 2 tables will cost Rs 2y. Thus, the total amount spent by Mala will be
Rs 5x + Rs 2y or Rs (5x + 2y).
Since the amount spent by Mala is Rs 1625, therefore
5x + 2y = 1625

(1)

Again, considering Reshmas purchase of 2 chairs and 1 table, we have


2x + y = 750

(2)

Now (1) and (2) give us a system of linear equations in two variables. Solving the system,
we get
x = 125 and y = 500
Thus, the cost of a chair is Rs 125 and that of a table is Rs 500.
Some Useful Hints for Solving such Problems :
1. Identify the unknown quantities about which some information is supplied. Give these
quantities a variable name like x, y, p, q, and so on.
2. See, which of the above variables need to be determined.
3. Concentrate on each phrase of the problem one by one. Write the equation in terms of
the variables which this phrase suggests.
4. Now solve the equations and determine the variables asked for in the problem.
EXERCISE 1.4
1.

Ram is three times as old as Rahim. Five years later, Ram will be two-and-a-half times as old as
Rahim. How old are Ram and Rahim now?

2.

Five years ago, Neeta was thrice as old as Geeta. Ten years later, Neeta will be twice as old as
Geeta. How old are Neeta and Geeta now?

3.

A fraction becomes

4.

4
if 1 is added to each of the numerator and the denominator. However, if we
5
1
subtract 5 from each, the fraction becomes . Find the fraction.
2
If we add 1 in the numerator of a fraction and subtract 1 from its denominator, the fraction

becomes 1. If it is also given that the fraction becomes


what is the fraction?

1
when we add 1 to its denominator, then
2

LINEAR EQUATIONS

5.

IN

TWO VARIABLES................................................................................................................ 2 5

If we add 5 to the denominator and subtract 5 from the numerator of a fraction, it reduces to
we subtract 3 from the numerator and add 3 to its denominator, it reduces to

1
. If
7

1
. Find the fraction.
3

6.

The sum of the digits of a two-digit number is 8. The number obtained by interchanging the two
digits exceeds the given number by 36. Find the number.

7.

The sum of the digits of a two-digit number is 9. Also, nine times this number is twice the number
obtained by reversing the order of the digits of the number. Find the number.

8.

Seven times a two-digit number is the same as four times the number obtained on interchanging the
digits of the given number. If one digit of the given number exceeds the other by 3, find the number.

9.

Two audio cassettes and three video cassettes cost Rs 340. But three audio cassettes and two
video cassettes cost Rs 260. Find the price of an audio cassette and that of a video cassette.

10. Three chairs and two tables cost Rs 1850. Five chairs and three tables cost Rs 2850. Find the cost
of two chairs and two tables.
11. If we buy 2 tickets from station A to station B, and 3 from station A to station C, we have to pay
Rs 795. But 3 tickets from station A to B and 5 tickets from A to C cost a total of Rs 1300. What is
the fare from station A to B and that from station A to C?
12. The area of a rectangle gets reduced by 9 square units, if its length is reduced by 5 units and the
breadth is increased by 3 units. If we increase the length by 3 units and the breadth by 2 units,
then the area is increased by 67 square units. Find the length and the breadth of the rectangle.
13. If in a rectangle, the length is increased and the breadth is reduced by 2 units each, the area is
reduced by 28 square units. If the length is reduced by 1 unit, and breadth increased by 2 units,
the area increases by 33 square units. Find the dimensions of the rectangle.
14. A person starts his job with a certain monthly salary and earns a fixed increment every year. If his
salary was Rs 4500 after 4 years of service and Rs 5400 after 10 years of service, find his initial
salary and the annual increment.
15. A railway half-ticket costs half the full fare but the reservation charges are the same on a
half-ticket as on a full ticket. One reserved first class ticket from station A to station B costs Rs
2125. Also, one reserved first class ticket and one reserved half first class ticket from A to B cost
Rs 3200. Find the full fare from station A to B and also the reservation charges for a ticket.
16. In a ABC, C = 3B = 2( A + B). Find the three angles.
[Hint : A + B + C = 180.]
17. A two-digit number is obtained by either multiplying the sum of the digits by 8 and adding 1, or
by multiplying the difference of the digits by 13 and adding 2. Find the number. How many such
numbers are there?

26.................................................................................................................................................... MATHEMATICS

18. In a cyclic quadrilateral ABCD, A = (2x + 4)o , B = ( y + 3)o , C = (2y + 10)o and D = (4x 5)o.
Find the four angles.
19. Points A and B are 100 km apart on a highway. One car starts from A and another from B at the
same time. If the cars travel in the same direction at a constant speed, they meet in 5 hours. If the
cars travel towards each other, they meet in 1 hour. What are the speeds of the two cars?
20. A person can row downstream 20 km in 2 hours and upstream 4 km in 2 hours. Find mans speed
of rowing in still water and the speed of the current.
[Hint: If persons speed in still water is x km per hour and the speed of the current is y km per hour,
then the speed upstream is (x y) km per hour and the speed downstream is (x + y) km per hour.]
21. A person can row 8 km upstream and 24 km downstream in 4 hours. He can row 12 km downstream
and 12 km upstream in 4 hours. Find the speed of the person in still water as also the speed of the
current.