Addition and Subtraction
of Polynomials

Adding (or subtracting) polynomials is really just an exercise in collecting like terms. For example, if we want to add the polynomial 2x2 + 4x – 3  to the polynomial 6x + 4, we would just put them together and collect like terms:

Notice that the parentheses in the first line are only there to distinguish the two polynomials.

Although this is basically just a bookkeeping activity, it can get a little messy when there are many terms. One way to help keep things straight is to use the column format for addition, keeping like terms lined up in columns: