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You are on page 1of 2

in a separate sheet.

Power laws and logarithm laws such as ax ay = ax+y : these

are dealt with in separate sheets.

School of Mathematics and Statistics

Student Support Scheme

ALGEBRAIC IDENTITIES

There are a number of algebraic identities which you need to

know in order to help you solve equations and simplify expressions (by an identity we mean an equation involving one or more

variables, which is true for all values of those variables).

Addition of fractions:

wz + xy

w y

+ =

.

x

z

xz

Square of a sum:

m2 n2 = (m n)(m + n)

x2 5 = x 5 x + 5

(x + y)2 = x2 + 2xy + y 2 .

x6 y 6 = (x3 y 3 )(x3 + y 3 ) .

Sometimes we can use a number of these identities successively in order to give a detailed factorisation of a certain

expression. For instance,

x2 y 2 = (x y)(x + y) .

x6 y 6 = (x3 y 3 )(x3 + y 3 )

x + y = (x + y)(x

n

n1

= (x y)(x2 + xy + y 2 )(x3 + y 3 )

xn y n = (x y)(xn1 + xn2 y + + xy n2 + y n1 ) .

Comments.

You must be able to use these identities in both directions.

For example, if you see x2 y 2 you should know that it can

be factorised, and if you see (x y)(x + y) you should know

that it can be expanded and simplified.

You must be able to replace the variables in all these identities

by different variables, constants or expressions. From the

difference of two squares formula we can find, for example,

n2

y + xy

= (x y)(x2 + xy + y 2 )(x + y)(x2 xy + y 2 )

(sum of 3rd powers).

n2

+y

n1

).

EXERCISES.

Please try to complete the following exercises. Remember that

you cannot expect to understand mathematics without doing lots

of practice! Please do not look at the answers before trying the

questions yourself. If you get a question wrong you should go

through your working carefully, find the mistake and fix it. If

there is a mistake which you cannot find, or a question which you

cannot even start, please consult your tutor or the SSS.

1. Expand

2

(c) (x 3y + 5z) ;

4

2 2

(g) (x + y)(x x y + x y xy + y );

(h) (a + b + c + d)

(i) (x + y) (x y) .

2. Factorise

(a) x2 + 10xy + 25y 2 ;

(c) x8 y 8 ;

(b) x6 y 4 ;

(e) x6 2x3 + 1;

and using the above identities.

12

2

1

1

2

+ 3

x1 x 1 x 1

(d) z 6 16;

(f) a2 + 2ab + b2 c2 ;

(i) 4xy.

3

(b) s2 + 2st + t2 ;

(g) x5 + y 5 ;

(b) (s + t)2 ;

ANSWERS.

is not the smallest common denominator. By factorising the

three denominators, find the smallest common denominator

and hence simplify the expression.

2. (a) (x + 5y)2 ;

(b) (x3 y 2 )(x3 + y 2 );

continue and get (x y)(x + y)(x2 + y 2 )(x4 + y 4 );

(e) (x3 1)2 ;

2

(b) (x 1)(x

+ 1)(x2 x + 1)(x2 + 1)

+ x + 1)(x

2

2

(x 3x + 1)(x + 3x + 1).

and the expression is

x3 + x

.

(x 1)(x + 1)(x2 + x + 1)

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