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Section 2.1
The Rectangular Coordinate System
Throughout chapter one, we solved several types of equations including linear equations, quadratic equations,
rational equations, etc.
Each of these equations had something in common.
They were all examples of
equations in one variable
.
In this chapter, we will study
equations involving two variables
.
A solution to an
equation involving two variables consists of a
pair of numbers
, an
x
-value and a
y
-value for which the equation
is true.
Each pair of values is called an
ordered pair
because the order does matter.
We use the notation
(
29
,
x y
to
represent an ordered pair.
Notice that the x-coordinate or
abscissa
is first, followed by the y-coordinate or
ordinate
listed second.
To represent an ordered pair graphically, we use the rectangular coordinate system also
called the Cartesian coordinate system named after the French mathematician René Descartes. The plane used
in this system is called the
coordinate plane
or
Cartesian plane
.
The horizontal axis (

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