Algebraic expression question

  • Thread starter Holocene
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  • #1
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I will use this expression as an example:

-2x + 7y - 5

Now, I know that this expression literally means " negative 2x plus 7y minus 5".

But, I prefer to look an expression like this as simply the sum of 3 terms. The terms are: -2x, 7y, and -5.

So, I prefer to deal with the expression more like -2x + 7y + (-5)

Is this proper?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mathman
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It is proper, but what's the point?
 
  • #3
HallsofIvy
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There are many different ways of looking at any "expression"- mathematics or not.
 
  • #4
CRGreathouse
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That is proper and sometimes useful. Looking at the same thing different waysis a good skill to have for math.
 
  • #5
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Its proper as long as it doesn't change the value.
 
  • #7
I agree with mathman, it's right but you're just complicating everything. In math the best way to do it is to follow the rules or you'll just end up completely confused...
 
  • #8
HallsofIvy
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It is proper, but what's the point?
Since addition is associative and subtraction is not, many algebraist do not look upon subtraction as properly an operation at all- subtraction just means "add the negative". To such mathematicians, the sum
(-2x) + 7y + (-5) would be much more natural than "subtracting 5".
 
  • #9
CRGreathouse
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Since addition is associative and subtraction is not, many algebraist do not look upon subtraction as properly an operation at all- subtraction just means "add the negative". To such mathematicians, the sum
(-2x) + 7y + (-5) would be much more natural than "subtracting 5".
I feel that way myself. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the subtraction symbol is just a shorthand for "add the negation".
 

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