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Feedback Q&A on Algebra

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 68 comments and questions on Algebra issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of most recent 10 letters




Product of Two Negative Numbers is Positive Product of Two Negative Numbers India
General Solving single variable equations India
Multiplication with Exponents Multiply terms with different base USA
Division with Exponents Raise number to the zero power Canada
Variables and Constants Solving a problem USA
Purpose Why are letters used in equations? Nigeria
Variables and Constants Formula without constant and variable UAE
Variables and Constants Is zero a variable? India
Multiplication with Exponents 5^6 times 8^6 USA
Variables and Constants Where did naming conventions come from? Australia

Next 10


Product of Two Negative Numbers

Topic: Product of Two Negative Numbers is Positive


May 5, 2018

why we take x= ab+(-a)(b)+(-a)(-b)=ab
because (-a)(-b)is already a question to proof

MANISH - India



(-a)(b) = -ab
(-a)(-b) = +ab
ab + (-ab) = 0
Thus ab+(-a)(b)+(-a)(-b)= ab

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Solving single variable equations

Topic: General


March 31, 2018

If k is constant can we find solutions to single variable equations

Vidi - India



"k" will be involved in solutions to the equations. See: Solving an Algebraic Linear Equation with One Variable for information.

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Multiply terms with different base

Topic: Multiplication with Exponents


November 3, 2017

I need to find out how to multiply terms with different base and exponents but i looked online and nothing shows up something like this. XY* in a radical multiplied by x*y to the third power inside a radical. Please help it feels hopeless right now

Lester - USA



I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to do. Are you trying to multiply something like (2^3)(5^2)?

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Raise number to the zero power

Topic: Division with Exponents


October 16, 2017


Does the exponent -3 x 0 = 0?

Jonathan - Canada



Any number raised to the zero power equals 1. For example x^0 = 1.

Thus (3x^-3)^0 = 1

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Solving a problem

Topic: Variables and Constants


March 28, 2017

kindly solve for me an algebra problem that is similar to the problem below and give me a step by step procedures:
b=ka+3, k is a constant, if the possible solutions are in the forms (a, b) is (2,3) a solution to the equation?

moifee - USA



What are you trying to find a solution for? a, b, or k?

If a = 2 and b = 3, then 3 = 2k + 3, and k = 0. But I don't think that is what you are looking for.

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Why are letters used in equations?

Topic: Purpose


March 11, 2017

why did they choose to use letter of alphabets or other symbols as a subject of the formular when numbers can still serve and is even easier to be used in rounding up calculation?

Chidi - Nigeria



Numbers are used in specific cases. The letters of the alphabet are considered variables, such that the equation or formula can be used with any numbers.

See Variables and Constants in Algebra for an explanation.

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Formula without constant and variable

Topic: Variables and Constants


March 1, 2017

Using formula without constant and Variable is right or wrong.(4-9/2)square 2 please clear it.thanks

Jamil - UAE



Just having numbers in the expression is simply an arithmetic exercise. What you have written is (4 - 9/2)^2, which would be (-1/2)^2 = 1/4.

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Is zero a variable?

Topic: Variables and Constants


February 13, 2017

0 is variable or constant

Chandra - India



Since zero (0) does not change, it is a constant and part of the number system.

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5^6 times 8^6

Topic: Multiplication with Exponents


January 31, 2017

hi, i have a question that is 5 to the 6th power times, 8 to the 6th power... how do i do this i asked everyone and they don't know how
thank you

noelle - USA



5^6 (5 to the 6th power) times 8^6 = 40^6 (40 to the 6th power).

(5^6)*(8^6) = (5*5*5*5*5*5)*(8*8*8*8*8*8) = 40*40*40*40*40*40 = 40^6

In general, (x^a)*(y^a) = (xy)^a

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Where did naming conventions come from?

Topic: Variables and Constants


August 9, 2016

Ron - from this abc usually constants and xyz variables, but any idea why linear algebra use ith and jth for row and column and then refers to a 2x3 matrix as an mxn matrix. Was wondering if ijkmn arent used so much - or could it be m for myrian and n for numberth nth - even non maths people know what to the nth degreee means? But I is often used for interest as is r for rate. K is most often a specific constant. n I can understand to the last n number but m has me stuck - unless it is like a-z m to n?

TIMOTHY - Australia



That is a puzzler. I haven't been able to find where the conventions for naming constants, variables, table rows and columns, and nth degree come from.

There must be some rationale hidden in the archives of mathematical history.

If you ever find out, let me know.

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