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Adding and Subtracting Polynomials - Problem 4

Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

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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