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Very basic simplification question

asked 2013-05-18 07:27:05 -0500

jordanhudgens gravatar image

I know what the answer is, however I'm trying to work through the process of this basic question. The equation is below:

(3 + x)/x^2

To simplify can't you simplify it to by simplifying the exponents:


However if you were to plug a constant into the original variable such as 2, you would get a different result than if you simplified it.

  1. x = 2 | (3 + x)/x^2 = 5/4
  2. x = 2 | 3/2

It's been a while since I went through algebra, so I'm sure there's an easy answer, I'm just wanting to know where I'm not thinking it through properly.


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answered 2013-05-18 09:35:42 -0500 gravatar image

updated 2013-05-18 22:11:53 -0500

You have to use the distributive property. Using Sage

expand((3 + x)/x^2)

the output you get is

1/x + 3/x^2

and using substitute

expand((3 + x)/x^2).substitute(x=2)

you will get


which is the correct answer. What you probably meant is

3 * x/x^2 == 3/x

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Asked: 2013-05-18 07:27:05 -0500

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Last updated: May 18 '13