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Simplifying Expressions

One way to simplify expressions is to combine like terms.

Like Terms: terms that have exactly the same variables raised to the same exponents



To combine like terms, you add or subtract the coefficients of the terms (the numbers
in front of the variables). Leave the variable part unchanged.

Example: 9x + 7y - 13x + 4y - 5

Note the difference between:
x + x =
x ∙ x =

Sometimes you may need to simplify an expression that has parentheses in it. This
requires using the Distributive Property first and then combining like terms.

Ex: -5(t - 13) - 4 =
Ex: 3(x - 2) - (x - 4) =
Ex: -5(8j + 2) - (5j - 3) - 3j + 17 =

When simplifying, always distribute first to remove all parentheses, then combine
any like terms.