Understanding Number Sentences: A Complete Guide with Examples and Exercises


Mathematics can be an intimidating subject, but understanding basic concepts like number sentences can provide a strong foundation for more complex equations. A number sentence is a mathematical statement made up of numbers and operations. In this article, we will define what a number sentence is, explore its importance, provide examples, and offer exercises for practice.


A number sentence is a mathematical expression that uses numbers and operations to represent a problem or equation. It follows the same rules of mathematics that govern arithmetic operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For example, 10 + 5 – 3 is a number sentence because it consists of numbers and operations, and it represents a problem.


Number sentences have a variety of applications and can be used to solve simple or complex problems. Here are a few examples:

  • 5 + 3 = 8
  • 12 – 4 = 8
  • 3 x 6 = 18
  • 24 ÷ 4 = 6

For more complex problems, number sentences can include multiple operations or variables. For example: (5 x 2) + (6 ÷ 2) = 11

When solving a number sentence, it’s important to follow the order of operations. This means performing any multiplication or division first, then adding or subtracting from left to right.

For example: 10 + 4 x 2 = 18, not 28. To solve this problem correctly, you must perform the multiplication before the addition.


Knowing how to work with number sentences is essential for understanding more complex math, like algebra. Equations in algebra are made up of number sentences and variables, so having a strong foundation in number sentences can make for a smoother transition to more advanced math concepts. In addition, number sentences can be used in real-world applications, such as calculating costs or determining measurements.

For example, a restaurant owner might use a number sentence to calculate the total cost of supplies for the week: ($5 x 100) + ($3 x 75) = $825. A carpenter might use a number sentence to calculate the amount of wood needed to build a deck: (20 x 10) ÷ 144 = 1.39 (rounded up to 2) cubic yards of wood.

Common Mistakes

There are common mistakes that students make when working with number sentences. One of the main mistakes is not following the order of operations. This can lead to incorrect answers, as demonstrated in the previous example. Another common mistake is not including all of the necessary components in the number sentence. For example, forgetting to include a subtraction sign in a problem that involves both addition and subtraction can lead to confusion and incorrect answers.

To avoid these mistakes, it’s important to double-check work and follow a systematic approach to solving problems.


Practicing number sentences can make them feel less daunting and more familiar. Here are a few exercises:

  • 4 + ___ = 9
  • 10 ÷ ___ = 2
  • (3 x 5) – (2 x 4) = ___

For the first problem, the answer is 5. For the second problem, the answer is 5. For the third problem, the answer is 7.


Number sentences have real-world applications in fields such as science and engineering. For example, in physics, they can be used to describe the motion of objects or the relationship between force and acceleration. In engineering, they can be used to calculate the stresses and strains on materials.

Understanding how to work with number sentences can provide a foundation for solving more complex problems in these fields.


A number sentence is a mathematical statement that includes numbers and operations. It’s an essential concept for understanding more advanced math like algebra and has real-world applications. This article has defined what a number sentence is, provided examples, explained its importance, highlighted common mistakes, and offered exercises for practice. With practice and patience, working with number sentences can become second nature, leading to greater confidence in math and problem-solving overall.

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