If `x^2 - a = 14` and `x^2+a=16,` what is the value of `a` ?

Expert Answers
degeneratecircle eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I edited your original question in response to Answer #2.

If you subtract the first equation from the second one, you get `2a=2,` so `a=1.`

Althought it wasn't asked for, you can go further and solve for `x,` and we find that both `+-sqrt(15)` work. Finally, we can check our solution:

`(+-sqrt(15))^2-1=14` and `(+-sqrt(15))^2+1=16,` so it works.

justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is given that x^2 - a = 14.

This equation has two variables x and a. x^2 - a can be equal to 14 for infinite number of sets of x and a. It is not possible to determine a unique solution for a from the given equation.

As the equation x^2 - a = 14 has 2 independent variables it is not possible to determine a unique solution for a.

givingiswinning | Student

x^2 -a - x^2 -a = 14 - 16

-2a = -2

a = 1

atyourservice | Student

 and 

combine the problems:

x^2 -a - x^2 -a = 14 - 16

simplify

-2a = -2

divide by -2

a = 1

timw996 | Student

Sorry there is another equation x^2 + a = 16