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X and Y coordinates

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Tutor: Toby


xx​ and yy​ coordinates

In a nutshell

Coordinates allow you to talk about location on a coordinate grid with precision. In 2D,2\text{D}, xx and yy coordinates are conventionally used and together are denoted as (x,y)(x,y).

The coordinate grid

In 2D,2\text{D}, the coordinate grid (also known as the Cartesian grid) consists of an xx-axis going horizontally and a yy-axis going vertically:​

Maths; Straight line graphs; KS3 Year 7; X and Y coordinates


The "origin" is the centre of the coordinate grid. When reading and plotting coordinates, start from the origin.





To describe a point on the coordinate grid, read along the xx-direction first (left or right) and find the number the point is in-line with. This number is the xx-coordinate.


Then read along the yy-direction (up or down). The number that the point is in-line with is the yy-coordinate.


The coordinates are then written in the form (x,y)(x,y) where xx is the xx-coordinate, and yy is the yy-coordinate.


If you have the point (5,8)(5,8) on the coordinate grid, it would be in-line with the 55 on the xx-axis and in-line with the 88 on the yy-axis, as shown below:

Maths; Straight line graphs; KS3 Year 7; X and Y coordinates

Note: Coordinates must be given with the xx​-coordinate first and the yy​-coordinate second. If you reverse these numbers, you end up with a different point! For example, if you look at (8,5)(8,5)​, you actually have the point depicted below:

Maths; Straight line graphs; KS3 Year 7; X and Y coordinates

Note: The origin has coordinates (0,0)(0,0).

Plotting coordinates



To plot a point on the coordinate grid, read the coordinates, which are in the form (x,y)(x,y). Read along the xx-direction first (left or right) by the number given by xx. If xx is positive, you go to the right of the origin, and if it is negative, you go left.


Then go along the yy-direction (up or down) by the number given by yy​. If yy is positive, go up, and if it is negative, go down.


Mark the point on your coordinate grid. It is common to use a dot or a cross.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Cartesian grid?

How do you find x and y coordinates?

Which comes first, x or y?


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