Algebraic Expressions


·       Letters represent an unknown or generic real number

·       Sometimes with restrictions, such as a member of a
certain set, or the set of values that makes an equation true.

·       Often a letter from the end of the alphabet: x, y,z

·       Or a letter that stands for a physical quantity: d
for distance, t for time, etc.


·       Fixed values, like 2 or 7.

·       Can also be represented by letters: a, b,
c, p, e, k


Terms are Separated by + or –


Factors are multiplied together.


Coefficients are constant factors that multiply a variable or powers of a variable

The middle term has 2 factors, –3 and x. We say that the coefficient of x is –3.

The first term has three factors, 2 and two factors of x. We say that 2 is the coefficient of x2.

The last term is a factor all by itself (although the number 4 could be factored into 2 × 2).