How Mathematics and English Language Can Save your Life

by Joy Nwankwo

Right from time immemorial, Mathematics and English, among others, are core subjects in secondary schools; no matter what you want to study in the tertiary institution or what you want to be in future, you have to get at least a credit in these subjects. This can be annoying if you have weaknesses in one or both subjects.

However, before we talk about Mathematics and English let’s solve some problems.

Mathematics Problems

Can you solve these problems without using a calculator?



20-4÷¼ +8

English Test

What is wrong with these sentences?

There goat ate all the yams in that barn over their.

Were where you yesterday?

He paid her a complement.

Attempt to solve these simple problems, and I will share the answers as we go.


I remember back in school how I loved mathematics until it was the examination period. I even liked further mathematics a bit. I realized, after I no longer had to do it as a subject, that I only felt threatened by the subject when I am given a time frame to solve the problems. So, I didn’t like it because all examinations are timed, both in school and life in general.


A woman excited to share how Mathematics and English can save life

It was in my first year at the university that a friend changed my perception of mathematics, even though by then I didn’t need it anymore. He said he saw mathematics as a puzzle that needs to be solved.

As a lover of puzzles and Sherlock Holmes, I got interested in mathematics again.

Using BODMAS, the answer to 50+50-25×0+2+2 is 104.




The big question, though, is how can mathematics save lives. I am a writer, and so, aside from the everyday activities that need mathematics, and the problems I attempt on the internet, like the ones listed above, I do not do many things with mathematics, but scientists all over the world use mathematics, down to the discovery of effective drugs for diseases.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘numbers don’t lie’? It is one of the truest statements in the world. You may challenge my words by showing me how it could mean something else by merely stressing a particular word in the sentence, but if a set of numbers are increasing or decreasing, you are either doing something right or wrong. It can’t be hidden. It’s evident for all to see.

The sentence ‘There goat ate all the yams in the barn over their.’ is wrong. It should be ‘Their goat at all the yams in the barn over there.’ ‘Their’ is used for possession and not location, and ‘there’ is used for location and not possession.

I was recently diagnosed with diabetes (still battling with accepting it), and I am still learning how to deal with it. If I try to trick my doctor by not doing what I should, the numbers will show and prove me a liar. Aside from my blood sugar levels, though, one of the greatest use of mathematics today is in the gathering of data.

Data is used everywhere. When dealing with world issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, one way the leaders, the scientists, the experts, and the industry players deal with them and find solutions is by looking at the data and what the statistics prove. Many times it involves some calculations.

So, you see, from the market woman selling her wares, the bus conductor collecting fare, the pharmacist giving the required dosage of a prescription, to the ordinary person trying to improve their health, mathematics has proven itself a way of life. The English language is also a way of life.

Using BODMAS, the answer to 15-1(12÷4+1) is 11




English Language

Did you know that the English Language is the most spoken in the world? If you didn’t, now you do!

I hear some people say “English is not my mother tongue, and so I must not know how to use it efficiently.” I am sorry to say, that is the reasoning of an unwise person. The world has fully become a global village and opportunities are sought from all around the world. Don’t you think it will be wise to be armed with a great communication tool?

Let me tell you a story.

The sentence ‘Were where you yesterday?’ is wrong. It should be ‘Where were you?’

‘Where’ is used for location or a specific place, while ‘were’ is a past tense form of ‘be’, and is used for indicative purposes.


Global Village as the pandemic spread

I studied Biochemistry in the University, but today I am a writer. The only advantage, tool, and knowledge I had before I began earning as a writer was my ability to use the English Language. For over seven years, I have lived on my ability to string words together, just because I can speak the English Language, and I can speak the language because I read in English.

Celine Dion, the famous singer, started her singing career singing in French (you might know some of her songs in French). She had to learn the English Language to reach a larger audience. If you can sing along to her songs, it is because she learnt English. She can make beautiful lyrics that move you because she learnt the language excellently.

English saved my life by giving me a source of livelihood. I may go back to a Biochemistry laboratory someday, I do not know, but I do not doubt that if I do, I will speak English there. The English Language is universal.


The answer to 20-4÷¼+8 is 12



Just as I see Mathematics as solving a puzzle or a mystery, I see English (words) as a powerful communication tool that allows me to reach more people. As the world evolves, the more people you can communicate and connect with, the more you stand to gain.

So, write that essay, read that book, make an attempt at that test, buy that dictionary (or use google), do what you can to learn and get better in the English Language. It may not be your mother tongue, but it is almost the language of the world. If you want to go far in the world, you need all the advantages that you can gather.

The sentence ‘He paid her a complement.’ is wrong. It should be ‘He paid her a compliment.’

‘Complement’ refers to something that completes something else, while ‘compliment’ refers to approving or admiring something.

In conclusion, hating Mathematics or English prevents one from learning as they can or should. This means they will be giving themselves disadvantages. In a world where the competition is on a steady increase, I don’t think anyone can afford to have self-inflicted disadvantages.

I hope I have shown you why Mathematics and the English Language are compulsory subjects?


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Uche Ahunanya August 15, 2021 - 9:35 pm

An interesting read.

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