How do you combine like terms?

1 Answer
Dec 14, 2014

You combine like terms by variable(s) and exponent(s).

The variables and exponent must match in order to combine.

So take #x^2 + x#. Variables (x and x) match, but exponents (2 and 1) do not, so you cannot combine

Take #x^2 + y^2#. Exponents (2 and 2) match, but variables (x and y) do not.

Now, take #3x^2 + 5x^2# These CAN be combine since the variable of x and power of 2 match.

So we have #3x^2 + 5x^2 = (3 + 5)x^2 = 8x^2#

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