June 18, 2024
Commutative Property — Definition & Examples Expii

Unlocking the Power of the Commutative Property

Mathematics can sometimes seem like an enigma, with its complex formulas and abstract concepts. However, understanding fundamental properties like the commutative property can help unravel the mysteries of math and pave the way for success in the subject. In this article, we will delve into the commutative property and explore its practical applications in various mathematical operations.

What is the Commutative Property?

The commutative property is a fundamental property of numbers that states that the order of numbers does not affect the outcome of certain operations. In simpler terms, it means that you can change the order of the numbers being added, multiplied, or even subtracted without changing the result. This property applies to addition and multiplication but not to subtraction or division.

Exploring Addition with the Commutative Property

Let’s take a look at an example to better understand the commutative property in action. Consider the following equation: 3 + 5. According to the commutative property, we can change the order of the numbers and still obtain the same result. So, 5 + 3 will also yield 8. This property holds true for any two numbers being added together.

Unleashing the Commutative Property in Multiplication

The commutative property also applies to multiplication. Take the equation 2 * 4 as an example. By applying the commutative property, we can switch the order of the numbers to get 4 * 2, which still equals 8. Like addition, this property holds for any two numbers being multiplied together.

Practical Applications of the Commutative Property

The commutative property finds its applications in various real-life scenarios. For instance, when calculating the total cost of items in a shopping cart, we can add them up in any order and still get the same total. Similarly, when determining the total distance covered during a journey involving multiple legs, the order of the distances traveled does not affect the final result.

The Commutative Property and Mental Math

The commutative property is a powerful tool that can be used to simplify mental math calculations. By rearranging numbers in a way that is easier to compute mentally, you can save time and effort. For example, if you need to calculate 7 + 8, you can use the commutative property and change it to 8 + 7, which might be easier to solve mentally.

Commutative Property and Algebra

In algebra, the commutative property allows us to rearrange terms in an equation, making it easier to solve for unknown variables. By applying this property, we can manipulate equations in a way that simplifies the process of isolating the desired variable.

Challenges and Limitations of the Commutative Property

While the commutative property is a useful concept, it is important to note that it does not apply to all mathematical operations. Subtraction, for example, does not follow the commutative property. If you change the order of the numbers being subtracted, the result will be different.


The commutative property is a valuable tool in mathematics that allows us to simplify calculations, solve equations, and make sense of real-world scenarios. Understanding and applying this property can unlock the door to a deeper understanding of math and pave the way for success in the subject. So, embrace the power of the commutative property and let it guide you on your mathematical journey!