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Adding and Subtracting Terms

Adding and Subtracting Terms

Like Terms can be added and subtracted.

In an expression `2b + 3b`, there are two lots of `b` and three lots of `b`, which gives 5 lots of `b` altogether. Therefore `2b + 3b = 5b`. This is called simplifying an expression.

The expression `3c + 4d` cannot be simplified, because `c` and `d` are unlike terms. This is also true of the expression `3 + 4e`, as the number and `4e` are unlike terms.

Another term that cannot be simplified is `3f + 4f^2`. The `f` and the `f^2` are different powers and are therefore unlike terms.

Example 1

Simplify `3p + 4p - 5t`

The `3p` and the `4p` can be added together as they are like terms. The `5t` cannot be subtracted from the other terms, as it is an unlike term.

`3p + 4p - 5t = 7p - 5t`

Answer: `7p - 5t`

Example 2

Simplify `3m + 2m - 2m^2 - 5m`

The `m` terms can be added together, as they are all like terms.

`3m + 2m - 5m = 0m`, which means there are no `m`s.

The remaining term is `2m^2`

Answer: `2m^2`

See also Vocabulary