Course: Elementary Algebra
Topic: Exponents and Polynomials
Subtopic: Negative Exponents


Throughout the course we have been working with positive exponents, but in this lesson we formalize the processes and rules. We also add to our repertoire negative exponents (like 2-4 and x-3) and powers of zero (like 30 and -y0). Negative powers mean to take a reciprocal (flip), so for example: x-3 means 1/x3, (2x)-4=1/(2x)4=1/(16x4), 2x-4=2/x4, and (2/x)-4=(x/2)4=x4/16.

Caution: Notice how important the parentheses are? They indicate exactly what is to the power and what isn't. Careful!


By the end of this topic you should know and be prepared to be tested on:


Terms you should be able to define: zero power, negative power, product rule of exponents, power rules of exponents, quotient rule of exponents (memorize all three rules!)