It is easy to get confused when exponents are combined with polynomials. IN general, even if we're doing 2x-x, the x's don't "go away." Think of it as two apples take away one apple- there is one apple left. It's the same idea when we try to do 2x^2 - x: in fact, nothing can be combined or subtracted there because they're not "like terms." We can only combine terms if they have the same exponents on the same variable (or variables.)
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