# Subtracting Polynomials

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Hey guys, Right, after Fruny helped me yesterday, I managed to progress 10 or so pages and everything seemed fine. However, I've come across an example problem from the book, in which my answer differs. Here's the example:
(x² - 3x³ + 4x) - (x³ - 2x + y - 3x²)

And here's my working:
   (x² - 3x³ + 4x) - (x³ - 2x + y - 3x²) =
(x² - 3x³ + 4x) + (-x³ + 2x - y + 3x²) =
x² - 3x³ + 4x - x³ + 2x - y + 3x² =
(x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y =
4x² + 4x³ + 6x - y

However, the book notes the answer as being:
-4x³ + 4x² + 6x - y

I don't understand how this result has been reached. When reading the book, it's said to perform subtraction by adding the additive inverse, which is how I've come up with:
(x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) = 4x² + 4x³

I mean I can see why 4x³ should be on the left-hand side, being as addition is commutative and the book says to re-arrange in exponential order, but how come 4x³ has been negated? I tried working it out by plugging in real values, and the results are vastly different:
x = 2, y = 3

4x² - (-4x³) + 6x - y =
4(2)² - (-4(2)³) + 6(2) - 3 =
4(4) - (-4(8)) + 6(2) - 3 =
16 - (-32) + 12 - 3 =
16 + 32 + 12 - 3 = 57

-4x³ + 4x² + 6x - y =
-4(2)³ + 4(2)² + 6(2) - 3 =
-4(8) + 4(4) + 6(2) - 3 =
-32 + 16 + 12 - 3 = -5

Could someone explain what I'm missing please? [smile] Thanks in advance, -hellz

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Quote:
 Original post by hellz (x² - 3x³ + 4x) - (x³ - 2x + y - 3x²) = (x² - 3x³ + 4x) + (-x³ + 2x - y + 3x²) = x² - 3x³ + 4x - x³ + 2x - y + 3x² = (x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y = 4x² + 4x³ + 6x - yHowever, the book notes the answer as being:-4x³ + 4x² + 6x - y

You just missed a sign.
   (x² - 3x³ + 4x) - (x³ - 2x + y - 3x²) =   (x² - 3x³ + 4x) + (-x³ + 2x - y + 3x²) =        x² - 3x³ + 4x - x³ + 2x - y + 3x² = (x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y =  <--- note the +                      4x² - 4x³ + 6x - y

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You have the most common error in maths: a wrong signal :)

The error lies in the passage from the 3rd to the 4th steps:

x² - 3x³ + 4x - x³ + 2x - y + 3x² =
(x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y

"- (-3x³ - x³)" should be "+ (-3x³ - x³)".

More to the point, this is wrong:
(x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) = 4x² + 4x³

the correct thing is:
(x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) = 4x² - 4x³

[Edit: beaten by _DarkWIng_ :) ]

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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm not sure I fully understand, though.

When I re-arranged the like terms, I got from start-finish, like so:

x² - 3x³ + 4x - x³ + 2x - y + 3x²x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³ + 4x + 2x - y

That subsequently turned into:

(x² + 3x²) - (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y

Now, when you subtract a polynomial, you have to change all the minus signs outside of the parenthesis, to additions, correct? OK, so with that, that should turn into this, as stated earlier:

(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y

So how come in this other example, this happens:

   (3a² + ab - b²) - (4ab - b² + 2a²) =   (3a² + ab - b²) + (-4ab + b² - 2a²) =        3a² + ab - b² - 4ab + b² - 2a² = (3a² - 2a²) + (ab - 4ab) - (-b² + b²) = <-- last binomial.                          a² + (-3ab) =                             a² - 3ab

Apparently I got that example correct, but wouldn't that mean I should've worked it out as:

(3a² - 2a²) + (ab - 4ab) + (b² - b²) = <-- last binomial.

Eh wait, I can see why that'd give the same result. Am I right in what I've just stated?

Thanks ever so much for the replies,

-hellz

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Actually, if that is true, then that line I originally had wrong, should be this:

(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ + -x³) + (4x + 2x) - y =

-hellz

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Quote:
 Original post by hellzNow, when you subtract a polynomial, you have to change all the minus signs outside of the parenthesis, to additions, correct?

Your statement is not very clear.
-(a+b) can be seen as -1*(a+b), distributing trough the parenthesis gives -(a+b) = -a-b. Again, -(-a-b) = a+b.
So, if you are switching the sign in front of a parenthesis you should switch signs of all terms within that parenthesis.

x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³ + 4x + 2x - y = <- Note, see *
(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y =
(x² + 3x²) - (3x³ + x³) + (4x + 2x) - y =
(4x²) - (4x³) + (6x) - y =
- 4x³ + 4x² + 6x - y

* The first x³ coefficient here is -3.

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Thanks for the reply dude. [smile]

Hmm, that sort of makes sense, but here's one thing I don't understand:

Quote:
 Original post by b34rSo, if you are switching the sign in front of a parenthesis you should switch signs of all terms within that parenthesis.x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³ + 4x + 2x - y = <- Note, see *(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³) + (4x + 2x) - y =

When you changed the sign for this:

x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³
(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³)

How come you didn't change the second line to:

(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ + x³)

Surely you haven't switched the signs of all terms in that group of parenthesis?

-hellz

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Quote:
 Original post by hellzWhen you changed the sign for this:x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³)How come you didn't change the second line to:(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ + x³)Surely you haven't switched the signs of all terms in that group of parenthesis?

That's because he just grouped the terms together, there was no sign change involved at all.

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b34r didn't do that because that would not be correct.

This is correct:
x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³ =
(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³)

This is incorrect:
x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³ =
(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ + x³)

Perhaps you're confunding the logic of the sigs. Don't worry, because at first it's normal. After a few times you'll do it right from instinct.

Consider:
A + B - C - D

Let's take the '+' into evidence:
+ ( A + B - C - D)

Let's take the '-' into evidence (this, i think is what is confusing you):
- ( -A - B + C + D)

Whenever you have a "-X", it's equivalent to having "(-1)*(+X)" wich is equivalent to "(-1)*X".

So

- ( -A - B + C + D)
= (-1)*( (-1)*A + (-1)*B + C + D)
= (-1)*(-1)*A + (-1)*(-1)*B + (-1)*C + (-1)*D
= A + B - C - D

Therefore, A + B - C - D = -(-A -B +C + D)

So
x² + 3x² - 3x³ - x³ =
(x² + 3x²) + (-3x³ - x³)

When i was first learning this stuff, it helped me to, at first, replace -A by (-1)*A. After a while i dropped this because i did it by instict. Remember that having "A+B" is equal to "1*A+1*B" and "A-B" is equal to "A+(-1)*B").

[Edit: beaten again, this time by Fruny !]

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Right, things are making more sense now. Thanks for all the help folks! I think I should re-read this entire chapter, though, just to be sure (probably be a mistake reading on just now I think).

Thanks for the help. [smile]

-hellz

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