# What is the purpose of the distributive property?

##### 1 Answer

The distributive property allows you to distribute a coefficient in front of a set of paretheses by multiplying the coefficient times the two or more terms inside the parentheses, then adding the result. The basic form is

If the coefficient and the contents of the parentheses are all numbers, such as

You can also use the distributive property:

When you have unlike terms, you cannot use the order of operations and add the contents of the parentheses first. This is where the distributive property comes in.

**Examples:**