A symbol is not a word. Doing algebra problems is not like reading a sentence, it’s like playing checkers or chess- although it is immeasurably more powerful. This symbol can do this. What is a number to algebra? There is no answer; for a number is really anything that can be used in an equation. Pi, i, 3, 3.5, 1, -2; all are numbers as far as algebra is concerned- but try definining number in such a way as to include all of these symbols. A symbol does not say what something is; it tells us how something can be used.

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