Major Styles of Input

Although the input does not have to conform to any preset patterns, some characteristic styles of input arise naturally, given the subject matter:

The styles listed simply reflect some "obvious" ways of communicating with AutoMathic.  The styles should be treated as mental guidelines that may be helpful in organizing and communicating your thoughts.


This style is characterized by a terse, concise form that looks almost exactly like regular, mathematical formulas and algebraic expressions.  Mathematical symbols are prevalent, with little or no use of English words other than variables:

e.g.    area=length*width;area=10;length=3;width

e.g.    area=length(width), area=10, length=3, width.

e.g.    area = length x width. area = 2x5. length = 3. width?

Note that spaces are optional around mathematical symbols ("+-*/:()="), commas, and semi-colons.  However, when using "x" as an abbreviation for "by" to denote multiplication, it must have a space between it and any non-numeric operand.  Most grammatical punctuation symbols (".,;?!") can be used normally.

Algebraic style requires the least interpretation by AutoMathic, meaning that the user assumes almost all responsibility for creating the equations and expressions.

Simple Translation

This style similar to the Algebraic style, but is characterized by simple substitution of English words for most symbols and numbers.  This style mimics how one might read Algebraic style out-loud:

e.g.    Area is length times width. Area is ten. Length equals 3. Compute width.

Note that many words, like "is" or "equals", are synonyms for the equals sign.  Also, simple numbers can be replaced by their written form.  The rules for written numbers will be covered in their own section.

This style is as unambiguous to AutoMathic as Algebraic style, but may be more comfortable to read and/or write.

Natural Language

This style is more verbose than Simple Translation and is characterized by more complex, but natural-sounding sentence structures:

e.g.    Given that area is always length times width, what would the width be if the area were ten, and the length were three?

Natural Language style usually matches very closely how one initially thinks of a problem or hears it stated.  Since AutoMathic accepts this natural-sounding style directly, this style requires the least "translation" by the user to describe the problem to AutoMathic.  However, this style requires that the user be careful to clearly define the problem and stay within its ability to understand.  To use Natural Language style to the fullest, you must be mindful of AutoMathic's myriad rules until they become second-nature.  The benefit is that AutoMathic carries the burden of understanding and translating.

Mixed Mode

Sometimes, no one form is convenient:  Natural Language may be too wordy or ambiguous, Simple Translation may be too contrived, or Algebraic style may be too terse.  Mixed Mode is a style that is a combination of all the others.  AutoMathic is flexible enough to allow you to mix-and-match input styles freely, depending on what "feels" most appropriate:

e.g.    Area is length x width. What's the width when: area=10; length=3

e.g.    Area=length(width). If area=10, and length equals 3, what must the width be?