1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data This is just a question about order of operations. I recently started working through Morris Kline's "Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach", but unfortunately my algebra's a bit rusty and the book doesn't list answers. I searched around via Google but I couldn't find any answers to this particular question. 2. Relevant equations f(x) = -x^2 3. The attempt at a solution I'm not sure how to deal with the negative sign here or in similar equations. If I'm solving for x = some number, let's say 2 [i.e. f(2)], do I apply the exponent and then apply the negative sign (so the answer would be -4)? I remember something from school about how you can treat the minus sign as a -1 multiplied by whichever relevant quantities in some situations. In this case, I might rewrite the equation as f(2) = -1(2^2). Or, should I just treat the base as negative in this sort of situation, so the answer would be 4 (-2*-2)? In the same way, if I'm entering f(-2), would it be -4 [-1(-2*-2)], or would it be 4 (negatives cancel each other out)? Thanks, sorry if this question seems a bit trivial.