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Page written by Thomasin Smith and Kee Teo with assistance from Rebecca Keen and Judy Edwards. Home > College of Sciences > Institute of Fundamental Sciences > Maths First > Online Maths Help SEARCH MASSEY  # Like Terms

## Description

A term is a number, variable or the product of a number and variable(s).

Here are some terms:

-2, 4x, -xy, 7x2, 100xy3, , abc, ax2, 0.5x

A constant term is a number.

A coefficient is the numeric factor of a term. A constant term is a special case of a coefficient. The coefficients of the terms below are highlighted in red:

-2, 7x2, 100xy3, 0.5x

The coefficient of    x = 1x   is 1 and the coefficient of   -x = -1x   is -1. The coefficient of is .

Two terms are called like terms if they differ by a constant factor. That is, only their numerical coefficients are different.
Constant terms are like terms.

### Exercise 1.

Click on the "Show" buttons to reveal the answers for pair of terms:

 Term 1 Term 2 2x - x 2x2 6x2 3x -9x2 1 2 ab 2ab 5xy 3yx 2x2y -x2y 4xy2 x2y 4y2x xy2

The following are like terms:

2x, 1000x, -5x, 0.65x, (2/3)x

And these are like terms:

7x2, 21769x2, 0.778x2, -41x2, (6/7)x2

But none of the following are like terms:

2x, 2x5, 2x-2, 2x0.5, 2x(4/3)

as the power of x differs in the different terms.

### Exercise 1.

Got it? Good! Now try some of the following exercises. Each time you click on "Next Exercise" a new exercise will appear.

Are Term 1 and Term 2 like terms? Click "Yes" or "No":

 Term 1 Term 2 Like Terms? or