Subtracting Exponents

 

 

When dividing numbers in exponent notation with the same base, we subtract the exponents.

Consider:

Text Box: a5 ÷ a2 =                =                 = a3

This is the second law of exponents:

Text Box: am  ÷  an =

 

 

Example:

Simplify the following expressions, giving your answers in exponent form

Text Box: a)	43 ÷ 42  b)	y8 ÷ y6  c)	   d)	p5 ÷ p3 ÷ p

Solution:

Text Box: a) 43 ÷ 42 = 43–2   = 41   = 4    b) y8 ÷ y6 =  y8–6   = y2    c)      d)

 

Common Error : The second law of exponent does NOT apply to subtraction of numbers in exponent notation.

Text Box: am – an

 

 

The following video shows more examples of subtraction of exponents:

 

 

 

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Exponents - Math.com
 

 

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