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Rules for dividing exponents

Posted on 2013-12-16
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I know that x^3/x^2=x but what would x^2/x^3 equal?  Would it be x^-1 or just x?

Do you just take the difference between the two exponents or do you subtract them left to right?
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Question by:NevSoFly
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aadih earned 250 total points
ID: 39722347
Answer: x^-1.

Subtract left to right (in your notation).
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by:phoffric
phoffric earned 250 total points
ID: 39722353
>> what would x^2/x^3 equal?  Would it be x^-1
 x^2/x^3 = (x*x) / (x*x*x) = 1/x = x^(-1)

Most exponent rules are easy to verify with a simple expansion as above.
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Expert Comment

by:TommySzalapski
ID: 39722860
If you ever get stuck on a similar problem, try plugging in numbers and see what makes sense.

Let's plug 10 in for x in your original question and see what happens:
I know that 10^3/10^2=10 but what would 10^2/10^3 equal?  Would it be 10^-1 or just 10?

or

I know that 1000/100=10 but what would 100/1000 equal?  Would it be 1/10 or just 10?


Now you have both the answer and the reason behind the answer.
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