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500: x=200:1

I have never seen an equation set up like this before. What do the colons represent? I'm sure it's a very simple equation and I'm stumped.
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3 Answers

Hi Melissa;
This means...
500 is to x as 200 is to 1
It can be expressed as...
500 in the numerator is to x in the denominator, as 200 in the numerator is to 1 in the denominator...
500 in the numerator is to x in the numerator, as 200 in the denominator as 1 is in the denominator...
Division is equivalent of Fractions, the fraction and division signs are interchangeable, but it is weird to write equations as such.
500:x=200:1 is the same as 500/x=200/1
There are two ways to solve the problem.
You can cross multiply to get 200x=500
The other way is to multiply 200 and 1 both by 2.5 because 2.5*200=500 !
Therefore 2.5*1=2.5 and x=2.5 again.


By the way, colons are used to write ratios. You can use a colon, the fraction bar, or the word "to". For example the ratio 3 to 4 is the same as 3/4 or 3:4.
You can use colons when writing proportions also.
In fact the old fashioned way to write this problem is
500 : x :: 200 : 1 with the double colon being read as "as".
500 is to x as 200 is to 1