Simplifying Expressions - Adding Like Terms

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Lesson Objective

In this lesson, we will learn the basics behind simplifying expressions. We will start by learning how to add 'like terms' in an expression.

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About This Lesson

This lesson shows you the basic concepts that you should know when adding 'like terms'. Several examples are shown as well to help you to understand this better.

Adding like terms

Study Tips

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Tip #1

Arrange the 'like terms' together before adding them up. This minimizes mistake.

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Tip #2

Double check that all 'like terms' are added up. The algebraic expression is considered simplified only when there is no more 'like terms' in it.

Now, watch the following math video to learn more.

Math Video

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Math Video Transcript

You can add like terms together to simplify an expression.

This lesson shows you how.

Now, let's learn the basic understanding in simplifying expression. Take these like terms, 3 x -2 x, as an example.

First, let's focus on 3x. You can see that 3x is equals to x + x + x.

Now, as for -2x, -2x is equals to -x -x.

When you add 3x and -2x together, notice that x and -x here cancel off.

Same goes for +x and -x here.

Notice that after adding these terms, you're left with one x.

Now that you understand the basic behind adding like terms. Let's take a faster way of doing this.

Just take 3 from 3x, minus 2 from 2x. Immediately, you get the 1 and the answer is 1x.

Also, one thing you should take note. It's better to write 1x as x.

Let's look at another example. Now let's simplify 7u + q -5u + 4q.

First, arrange the like terms together like this.

After arranging, you have 7u -5u and +q + 4q.

Now add the like terms q and + 4q. This gives 5q.

Add the like terms 7u and -5u. This gives 2u.

As there is no more like terms, This is the simplest expression you can get. So the answer is 2u + 5q.

So the answer is 2u +5q.

Let's take another example, 7 u + 3 v square -2 u + 5 v square.

First, arrange the like terms together like this.

After arranging, you have 7u, -2u and + 3v square + 5v square.

Now add the like terms + 3v square + 5v square . This gives 8v square.

Add the like terms 7u and -2u. This gives 5u.

As there is no more like terms, This is the simplest expression you can get. So the answer is 5u +8 v square.

That's all for this lesson. Try out the practice questions to test your understanding.

Practice Questions & More

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Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

Now, let's try some MCQ questions to understand this lesson better.

You can start by going through the series of questions on simplifying expressions - adding like terms or pick your choice of question below.

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