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 + 4f2. The f and the f2 are different powers and are therefore unlike terms.


1. Simplify 3p + 4p - 5t.

Answer: 7p - 5t

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

2. Simplify 3m + 2m - 2m2 - 5m

Answer: 2m2

Add all the m terms together: 3m + 2m - 5m = 0m, which means there are no ms. The remaining term is 2m2.