It's kind of all about the syntax...
Math is about numbers, but it's also about concepts, operations, and applications.
I've found that there are multiple ways to describe most problems every student will face.
Example 1: 3 + 2 = 5
-three plus two equals five
-the sum of three and two is five
-the left side is three added to two, and the right side is five
Example 2: 4 x 4 = 16
-the square root of sixteen is four
-sixteen rooted is four
-four squared is sixteen
-logarithm base four is sixteen
-four to the two is sixteen
The two examples above are multiple ways of stating the same problem. If you're not familiar with the syntax or the context of the problem, you might find it difficult to begin to find the answer. However, if you don't understand one way, there are many others to help clarify. When tutoring, it's useful to know multiple ways of stating a problem and developing an answer because math can become confusing when words and numbers collide. There are many ways to go about retrieving the one correct answer. Think outside of the problem. :)