The terms of an expression are the parts of a mathematical expression that are separated by a plus (+) or minus (–) sign.
Each term is either a number or the product of a number (sometimes an understood 1) and one or more variables.
3x2y + 2xy – 9x + 2
The four terms of the above expression are 3x2y, 2xy, –9x and 2.
Terms are like terms if their variable parts are the same.
7x3 – 14x2 – 8x – 3x3 + 9
In the above expression 7x3, and –3x3 are like terms. –14x2 , – 8x and 9 are unlike terms.
Like terms can be added or subtracted using the Distributive Property. The variable part stays the same; we just add the coefficients (the numerical portion of the terms). Unlike terms cannot be added or subtracted.
Simplify 6x2 + 5x + 4 – 4x2 + 7x – 8
(6x2– 4x2) + (5x + 7x) + (4 – 8)
Use the Distributive Property to combine like terms.
(6 – 4)x2 + (5 + 7)x + (4 – 8)
= 2x2 + 12x – 4