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GCSE

Algebra

Question

What do you do with negative powers?

2 years ago

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Arielle Jenkins


1 Answer

Ante R Profile Picture
Ante R Verified Sherpa Tutor ✓

Professional Engineer with years of experience, especially in tutoring

Depends on whether the base is negative, or the exponent is negative.


In case of a negative base:


(-a)^x = (-a)(-a)(-a)...(-a) -> [x times]


In case of a negative exponent:


a^(-x) = 1 / (a^x)


Examples:


(-2)^3 = (-2)(-2)(-2) = -8


2^(-3) = 1 / 2^3 = 1/8

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