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 January 24th, 2010, 02:20 PM #1 Newbie   Joined: Jan 2010 Posts: 17 Thanks: 0 variable and the exponent Thank you for reading, this is a pre-algebra question. So the book says I am right on -5^2 = -25, how I solved it is -(5^2)=-25 But I got this problem wrong, which is, b^2, for b=-4, I do not see any parentheses, I solved it as -(4^2), therefore -16. But it says that it's +16. Why is it +16 when there are no parentheses? Are you supposed to add the parentheses and calculate when you replace variable with a number? Please help me out, thank you in advance for your generous help.
 January 24th, 2010, 03:28 PM #2 Global Moderator   Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 21,028 Thanks: 2259 Yes; when the parentheses will affect the value of the expression, you should add them when you replace a variable.

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