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There are several real-life scenarios that can be modeled using linear expressions. This type of expression is crucial for the development of more advanced topics. This lesson will discuss how to factor linear expressions and how to take advantage of this technique.

Catch-Up and Review

Here are a few recommended readings before getting started with this lesson.


Using the Distributive Property

In the following applet, different algebraic expressions are expanded using the Distributive Property.
Distributive Property Applet
Is it possible to work these expressions in reverse? Consider the following example.
Try rewriting the above expression as the product of and a different expression.


A monomial is an algebraic expression consisting of only one term. It is a product of powers of variables and a constant called the coefficient.

The monomial 2x^2y^3 with a coefficient of 2, and variables x and y.
A single-term expression is a monomial only if all of its variables have whole numbersnon-negative and integers — as exponents. However, variables with positive exponents in the denominator are excluded because they are equivalent to a power in the numerator with the opposite exponent, according to the Quotient of Powers Property. Consider the following example.
In other words, if a variable in the denominator of an expression, it is not a monomial. The following are valid examples of monomials.
Expression Why It Is a Monomial
Any constant is a valid monomial. By the Zero Exponent Property,
The coefficient of a monomial can be
The coefficient can be negative.
A monomial can have numbers in the denominator.

Although they appear to be monomials at first glance, the single-term expressions in the following table do not satisfy the definition of a monomial.

Expression Why It Is Not a Monomial
The variables of a monomial cannot have negative integer exponents.
Monomials cannot have variables in the denominator.
The variables of a monomial must only have whole number exponents.
Pop Quiz

Is This a Monomial?

Determine whether the given expression is a monomial.

Determining if an expression is a monomial random generator

Degree of a Monomial

The degree of a monomial is the sum of the exponents of its variable factors. If a variable has no exponent written in it, it is assumed to be Additionally, all nonzero constants have a degree of The constant does not have a degree.

Monomial Degree
This lesson will work with monomials of degree which are also known as linear expressions.
Pop Quiz

Is This a Linear Expression?

Determine whether the given monomial is a linear expression.

Determining if an expression is a monomial random generator

Using a Coupon For Snacks

Diego is having friends over this evening to watch movies and hang out. It would be great if they had some snacks while watching the movies! He suddenly remembers that he has a coupon in his wallet.

Coupon For Five Percent Off on Snacks
This coupon gives him off when buying snacks! Diego uses to represent the total cost of the snacks he will buy. When he uses the coupon, of the sales price will be discounted from this total.
This means that Diego will only pay of the total.
a The following expression represents how much Diego will pay for his snacks after using the coupon.
Is this a monomial?
b Is the expression a linear expression?


a Identify the coefficient and the variable of the expression.
b What is the power of the variable shown in the expression?


a Begin by taking a look at the expression that represents how much Diego will pay after using the coupon.
The variable is and the coefficient is The variable represents the normal price of the snacks Diego wants to buy. The coefficient represents the total after a discount.
Coefficient and Variable

The only operation involved in this expression is the multiplication of the variable and the coefficient, so this expression is a monomial.

b The given expression has already been determined to be a monomial. Now it is asked whether it is a linear expression. Recall that when no exponent is written on a variable, the exponent is assumed to be
There is only one variable in the above expression and its exponent is one, so it is a linear expression. Think of this monomial as a linear expression that has no constant term.
Coefficient and Variable of a Linear Term

Factoring a Linear Expression by GCF

A monomial whose degree is is a linear expression. Another linear expression can be created by either adding or subtracting a constant from a monomial of degree

A diagram illustrating the components of a linear expression in the form ax+b, including the linear term, its coefficient and variable, and the constant term. and variable, and the constant term.
When the linear term and the constant term of a linear expression share common factors, it is possible to factor out their greatest common factor (GCF) using the Distributive Property. Consider the following linear expression.
This expression can be factored by GCF by following these steps.
Find the GCF of the Linear Expression
Start by finding the GCF of the linear expression. Rewrite each term as the product of its factors.
The GCF of the initial expression is
Rewrite Each Term in Terms of the GCF
Next, rewrite each term of the initial expression as the product of the GCF and another factor.
Now write the initial expression as follows.
Factor Out the GCF
Finally, use the Distributive Property to factor out the GCF.
The expression between the parentheses can to be examined to determine whether it is possible to continue the factorization. Here, the terms do not have any more common factors, so the linear expression is completely factored.
Please note that any common factor can be used to factor a linear expression. The most common way of doing it is by using the GCF.

Fruit for Sale

After grabbing the snacks for his get-together, Diego saw that the store had a sale on fruit.

Fruit on Sale Ad
He got kind of carried away and bought apples and bananas. However, if he does not eat the fruit soon, it will spoil. Diego decides that sharing the fruit with his friends would be good. He uses to represent apples and to represent bananas and writes the following expression.
Diego will split the fruit into three equal parts for him and his two friends. Rewrite the above expression by factoring out


Find the common factors of each term.


The following expression represents the fruit that Diego got at the grocery store.
Diego wants to split the fruit into three equal parts. This should not be a hard task since both and share the factor Begin by writing the factors of each term.
This means that the expression can be rewritten as The factor means that the fruit will be split into equal groups. The factor means that each person will get apples and banana.
Pop Quiz

Find the GCF of a Linear Expression

Consider the given linear expression and identify greatest common factor (GCF) of the terms.

Find the GCF of a linear expression

Factoring a Linear Expression Using GCF

The challenge presented at the start of the lesson can be solved by using the methods learned in this chapter. Consider the given linear expression.
Begin by finding the factors of and
Notice that they only share one factor, This means their greatest common factor (GCF) is Next, rewrite each term as a product involving the GCF.
Finally, rewrite the expression by factoring out
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