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Concept

# Exponent

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.