Our Algebra 1 tutorial software program contains over 60 topic areas. One of them is
Like Terms, and this page summarizes the main ideas of this topic. This page is intended for review, and is not a substitute for the interactive, self-paced tutorials of the MathTutor algebra 1 software program.
has two parts: the constant part and the variable part:
constant → 4x ← variable
are terms having the same variable part. In determining like terms,
the constant part can be ignored. For example, 12y and -16y are like terms because the variable part ("y")
is the same in both terms. 2x3
are also like terms.
such as 14 and 2.3 are always considered like terms. Constants do not
contain a variable part.
y are not like terms. Both terms have x and y, but the variable
parts are not exactly the same. The variable parts must be the same to be like terms.
Sample Problem 1
Locate all the like terms in the following expression:
16 - 4 + 10 + 36xr - 82yr
All of the constants (16, -4, 10) are like terms. Since the last two terms have different
variable parts, they are not like terms.
Sample Problem 2
Locate all of the like terms in the following expression:
21aw - 16y + 41z - 7au + 5z
41z and 5z are like terms, since they both contain the same variable part, "z". There are no
other like terms.