Combining Like Terms

Students learn to simplify an expression by combining like terms. For example, to simplify 5a + 7b - a - 2b, combine the like terms 5a - 1a, to get 4a, and combine the like terms 7b - 2b, to get 5b. So 5a + 7b - a - 2b simplifies to 4a + 5b. To simplify 2x^2 - 3x + 12 + 4x - 5x^2, combine the like terms 2x^2 - 5x^2, to get -3x^2, and combine the like terms -3x + 4x, to get 1x. So 2x^2 - 3x + 12 + 4x - 5x^2 simplifies to -3x^2 + 1x + 12.

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