Expression vs. Equation: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Published on November 22, 2023
Expression is a mathematical phrase without an equals sign, whereas equation is a statement showing equality between two expressions.

Key Differences

Expression and equation are fundamental concepts in mathematics, each with a distinct purpose. An expression can be thought of as a mathematical phrase, representing a particular value or set of values, but it doesn't assert any kind of balance or equality. An equation, on the other hand, serves as a declaration that two expressions are equivalent, meaning they represent the same value.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
In arithmetic, an expression might involve numbers, variables, and operations, but it won't make a claim about the relationship between different expressions. An equation, however, will connect two expressions with an equals sign, illustrating that they hold the same value. For instance, "3 + 4" is an expression, but "3 + 4 = 7" is an equation.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
In algebra, an expression could be as simple as a single variable or as complex as a polynomial. An equation in algebra often sets an expression equal to another, facilitating the process of solving for unknowns. The utility of equations becomes evident in contexts like system of equations, where multiple equations are used to determine the values of multiple variables.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
Broadening the scope beyond mathematics, the term "expression" can also signify a manifestation of feeling, thought, or character. In contrast, "equation" in broader contexts can denote a process of equating one thing with another, suggesting a kind of balance or equivalence between them.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

A mathematical phrase
A statement of equality between two expressions
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Includes

Numbers, variables, and operations
Two expressions separated by an equals sign
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Asserts

Value but not equality
Equality between expressions
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Example

5x or 3 + 4
5x = 20 or 3 + 4 = 7
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Manifestation of feeling, thought, or character
Equating one thing with another
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Expression and Equation Definitions

Expression

A mathematical phrase.
X + 5 is an algebraic expression.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 01, 2023

Equation

A mathematical statement showing the equality of two expressions.
2 + 2 = 4 is an equation.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 01, 2023

Expression

A particular word or phrase.
Raining cats and dogs is an idiomatic expression.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 01, 2023

Equation

A situation or problem requiring resolution.
The detectives faced a complex equation in the murder mystery.
Sara Rehman
Nov 01, 2023

Expression

The process of making one's thoughts known.
Poetry is a form of artistic expression.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 01, 2023

Equation

A process of equating one thing with another.
His equation of love with sacrifice touched many.
Sara Rehman
Nov 01, 2023

Expression

A manifestation of feeling or emotion.
A smile is an expression of happiness.
Janet White
Nov 01, 2023

Equation

A formula representing a relationship between variables.
Einstein's E=mc^2 is a famous equation in physics.
Janet White
Nov 01, 2023

Expression

A demonstration of a particular quality.
Her painting was an expression of her inner turmoil.
Harlon Moss
Nov 01, 2023

Equation

A statement indicating equivalence.
The coach made an equation between hard work and success.
Janet White
Nov 01, 2023

Expression

The act of expressing, conveying, or representing in words, art, music, or movement; a manifestation
An expression of rural values.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Equation

The act or process of equating or of being equated.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Expression

Something that expresses or communicates
Let this plaque serve as an expression of our esteem.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Equation

The state of being equal.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

Equation

(Mathematics) A statement asserting the equality of two expressions, usually written as a linear array of symbols that are separated into left and right sides and joined by an equal sign.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 31, 2023

FAQs

Can "5 + 7" be termed an equation?

No, "5 + 7" is an expression; "5 + 7 = 12" is an equation.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Is "Raining cats and dogs" an equation?

No, it's an idiomatic expression.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What is an expression in mathematics?

An expression is a mathematical phrase without an equals sign.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can "3x" be termed an equation?

No, "3x" is an expression.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Are all mathematical phrases with an equals sign equations?

Yes, mathematical statements with an equals sign are equations.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

In what context might "expression" mean a display of emotion?

In general language, "expression" can refer to showing feelings, like a facial expression.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

In what scenarios is "equation" used outside mathematics?

It can refer to situations requiring resolution or equating one thing with another.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Do expressions always have operations?

No, an expression can be as simple as a single number or variable.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

How does an equation differ from an expression?

An equation shows equality between two expressions.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Can equations have variables?

Yes, equations can have variables, like "x + 3 = 7."
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What is the primary purpose of an equation in algebra?

To show that two expressions are equivalent and often to solve for unknowns.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can expressions represent a single value?

Yes, an expression like "3x" represents a value, depending on x.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Is "E=mc^2" an expression or an equation?

"E=mc^2" is an equation.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What does it mean when two expressions are set equal in an equation?

It means they represent the same value.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

In a broader sense, "sadness" can be felt and shown as an emotional expression.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

How does an expression become an equation?

By setting it equal to another expression, like turning "x + 2" into "x + 2 = 5."
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can an equation be true or false?

Yes, an equation can be true (like 2 + 2 = 4) or false (like 2 + 2 = 5).
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Why are equations important in mathematics?

Equations establish relationships and allow for problem-solving by setting expressions equal to one another.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can expressions have operations like addition and subtraction?

Yes, expressions can include operations like "a + b" or "c - d."
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Are equations only restricted to mathematics?

No, equations can also denote situations or the process of equating things in broader contexts.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023