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Using properties of real numbers

Use the properties of real numbers to rewrite and simplify each expression. State which properties apply.

  1. 3 6 + 3 4
  2. ( 5 + 8 ) + ( −8 )
  3. 6 ( 15 + 9 )
  4. 4 7 ( 2 3 7 4 )
  5. 100 [ 0.75 + ( −2.38 ) ]

  1. 3 6 + 3 4 = 3 ( 6 + 4 ) Distributive property = 3 10 Simplify = 30 Simplify

  2. ( 5 + 8 ) + ( −8 ) = 5 + [ 8 + ( −8 ) ] Associative property of addition = 5 + 0 Inverse property of addition = 5 Identity property of addition

  3. 6 ( 15 + 9 ) = 6 + [ ( −15 ) + ( −9 ) ] Distributive property = 6 + ( −24 ) Simplify = −18 Simplify

  4. 4 7 ( 2 3 7 4 ) = 4 7 ( 7 4 2 3 ) Commutative property of multiplication = ( 4 7 7 4 ) 2 3 Associative property of multiplication = 1 2 3 Inverse property of multiplication = 2 3 Identity property of multiplication

  5. 100 [ 0.75 + ( 2.38 ) ] = 100 0.75 + 100 ( −2.38 ) Distributive property = 75 + ( −238 ) Simplify = −163 Simplify
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Use the properties of real numbers to rewrite and simplify each expression. State which properties apply.

  1. ( 23 5 ) [ 11 ( 5 23 ) ]
  2. 5 ( 6.2 + 0.4 )
  3. 18 ( 7 −15 )
  4. 17 18 + [ 4 9 + ( 17 18 ) ]
  5. 6 ( −3 ) + 6 3
  1. 11, commutative property of multiplication, associative property of multiplication, inverse property of multiplication, identity property of multiplication;
  2. 33, distributive property;
  3. 26, distributive property;
  4. 4 9 , commutative property of addition, associative property of addition, inverse property of addition, identity property of addition;
  5. 0, distributive property, inverse property of addition, identity property of addition
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Evaluating algebraic expressions

So far, the mathematical expressions we have seen have involved real numbers only. In mathematics, we may see expressions such as x + 5 , 4 3 π r 3 , or 2 m 3 n 2 . In the expression x + 5 , 5 is called a constant    because it does not vary and x is called a variable    because it does. (In naming the variable, ignore any exponents or radicals containing the variable.) An algebraic expression    is a collection of constants and variables joined together by the algebraic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

We have already seen some real number examples of exponential notation, a shorthand method of writing products of the same factor. When variables are used, the constants and variables are treated the same way.

( −3 ) 5 = ( −3 ) ( −3 ) ( −3 ) ( −3 ) ( −3 ) x 5 = x x x x x ( 2 7 ) 3 = ( 2 7 ) ( 2 7 ) ( 2 7 )   ( y z ) 3 = ( y z ) ( y z ) ( y z )

In each case, the exponent tells us how many factors of the base to use, whether the base consists of constants or variables.

Any variable in an algebraic expression may take on or be assigned different values. When that happens, the value of the algebraic expression changes. To evaluate an algebraic expression means to determine the value of the expression for a given value of each variable in the expression. Replace each variable in the expression with the given value, then simplify the resulting expression using the order of operations. If the algebraic expression contains more than one variable, replace each variable with its assigned value and simplify the expression as before.

Describing algebraic expressions

List the constants and variables for each algebraic expression.

  1. x + 5
  2. 4 3 π r 3
  3. 2 m 3 n 2
Constants Variables
a. x + 5 5 x
b. 4 3 π r 3 4 3 , π r
c. 2 m 3 n 2 2 m , n
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Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
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