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Multiplying Variables

The first problem we will work on is

x * x

When two of the same variables are multiplied (in this case both x) the answer consists of the varable with an exponent that is the sum of the other two exponents.

In this case, both terms in the multiplication are x without a superscripted exponent, therefore each has an implied exponent of 1. We are multiplying so we will add the exponents, 1 + 1, to get 2. Therefore, the answer is x to the second power:

x2

The next problem is

x * x4

This time we are multiplying x and x to the fourth power. The first multiplier, x, doesn't have a visible exponent. As before we know that x has an implied exponent of 1. The second multiplier, x4, has a visible exponent, 4.

Both multipliers are the same letter, so we multiply by adding the exponents. Since 1 + 4 = 5, the answer is:

x5

The next page will explain how to multiply terms that contain different variables (different letters).


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