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Maths Exercices

Understanding negative exponents

NEGATIVE EXPONENTS

   and    

When raising a base to a negative exponent, find the reciprocal of the base.


The definition indicates that negative exponents give us reciprocals, as the following examples illustrate.

Simplify 2-3

The first step is to rewrite the expression with a positive exponent, by using our definition. After that, we simplify.

  Definition of negative exponents
  The cube of 2 is 8

Simplify (-3)-2

The fact that the base in this problem is negative does not change the procedure we use to simplify:

  Definition of negative exponents
  The square of -3 is 9

Simplify



Simplify