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Unformatted text preview: here is reducing a rational expression to lowest terms. A
rational expression has been reduced to lowest terms if all common factors from the numerator
and denominator have been canceled. We already know how to do this with number fractions so
let’s take a quick look at an example. not reduced to lowest terms Þ 12 ( 4 ) ( 3) 3
Ü reduced to lowest terms
( 4) ( 2) 2 With rational expression it works exactly the same way. not reduced to lowest terms Þ ( x + 3) ( x - 1) x - 1
x ( x + 3) Ü reduced to lowest terms We do have to be careful with canceling however. There are some common mistakes that
students often make with these problems. Recall that in order to cancel a factor it must multiply
the whole numerator and the whole denominator. So, the x+3 above could cancel since it
multiplied the whole numerator and the whole denominator. However, the x’s in the reduced
form can’t cancel since the x in the numerator is not times the whole numerator.
To see why the x’s don’t cancel in the reduced form above put a number in and see what happens.
Let’s plug in x=4.
© 2007 Paul Dawkins 41 http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/terms.aspx College Algebra 4 -1 3
4 4 -1
4 Clearly the two...
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This note was uploaded on 06/06/2012 for the course ICT 4 taught by Professor Mrvinh during the Spring '12 term at Hanoi University of Technology.
- Spring '12