While attempting and solving maths problems, do we "Do" those problems? Is the usage "While doing algebra in high school" the correct phrase to convey that I have been taking a class of algebra and solving problems in algebra? What is the correct phrase, kindly help me out. (Pardon me if I have been completely incorrect in my usage, English is my second language and I am entirely unsure of how to convey my message in an article)

  • 2
    It's not a stupid question, but it's bound to have a dissatisfying answer. Terms like take exams, give exams, sit exams, take courses, solve problems, do homework, etc. are intensely local. Each school, never mind each city, county, region, and country, has its own way of talking about these things. The only way to cope is to listen to those around you and imitate their way of speech. That's what we do anyway, so go ahead. Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 21:23
  • "We've been doing algebra today" is fine. But we solve problems, algebraic or any other kind. Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 21:48
  • @JohnLawler I was unaware of that and had presumed that there existed a certain rule to this, Thank you so much
    – amspsingh04
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 22:02
  • Understood, @WeatherVane, thank you!
    – amspsingh04
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 22:03
  • Doing algebra seems rather colloquial to me. "While studying algebra" sounds more 'grown-up'. Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Those are distinct questions. Working on algebra is not necessarily solving problems; it is quite possibly just studying the textbook or class notes.

Trying to solve a math problem is more specific than just trying to learn a subject, although it is often part of learning a subject.

A good word that means "attemping to solve a problem" (like a math problem) is "tackling" the problem.

Note that "tackling" does not imply that the problem is in fact being solved. It means only that there is an attempt to solve it.

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