# Algebraic terms

## In a nutshell

Algebra uses a combination of letters and numbers to derive expressions called terms. This is useful, as it can help find unknown quantities. In maths, when you have an unknown quantity, start by giving it a letter, before using it in an expression, equation or a formula.

## Terms

Terms are a combination of numbers and letters. The number indicates how many times you count the unknown quantity, which is often described by a letter.

*Note:** You can put a multiplication sign between the number and the letter, but it can also be omitted.*

##### Examples

$2\times x=2x\\ \ \\8\times t=8t\\ \ \\-5\times y=-5y\\ \ \\3\times n \times n=3n^2$

## Expressions

An expression is a string of terms separated by a $+$ or $-$.

##### Examples

$2x+2y$ |

$a-2b$ |

$x^2-4x+4$ |

$xy+x^2+3y+1$ |

## Simplifying expressions

Expressions can be simplified by adding or subtracting various terms.

*Note:** In order to be combined, two terms should be made of the same letter or same combination of letters.*

##### Examples

$5x+5x=9x\\ \ \\7y-3y=4y\\ \ \\p+p+2p=4p$