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An **exponent** is a number or expression written above a number, indicating that it is being multiplied by itself. The notation is made up of a base – the number being multiplied – and an exponent, which gives the number of times the base appears in the multiplication.

The resulting number is commonly called a **power**. In this example, there are $4$ instances of the base $7$ in the multiplication being expressed.
$\begin{gathered}
\Large{7^4 = \underbrace{7 \cdot 7 \cdot 7 \cdot 7}_4}
\end{gathered}$
Most exponential expressions are read in mostly the same ways, whether they are numeric or algebraic.

Expression | Example $1$ | Example $2$ |
---|---|---|

$7^4$ | $7$ raised to the power of $4$ |
$7$ raised to the fourth power |

$x^9$ | $x$ to the power of $9$ |
$x$ to the ninth power |

$2^{2}$ | $2$ to the second |
$2$ squared |

$m^{3}$ | $m$ to the third |
$m$ cubed |

Notice in the examples above that two special cases were included; when a number or variable is raised to the power of $2$ or $3,$ the exponential expression can be read as squared

or cubed,

respectively.

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