Quandaries and Queries


I am in the 7th grade. In the equation -8y+6ab+7-3ab what are the coefficients; the like terms and constants?

Thank you, Elizabeth



Hi Elizabeth,

Let me look at a slightly different algebraic expression,

12x + 9st - 6 - 12st + 3s

The terms are the parts of the expression that are separated by addition or subtraction. In the expression above the terms are

12x, 9st, -6, -12st and 3s

I could have said

+12x, +9st, -6, -12st and +3s

but we usually don't write the plus sign when it is the first operation in an expression.

Some of these terms have variables (letters) in them and some don't. The terms without variables are the constants. In my expression the only constant is


The terms that are not constants are a number followed by a letter or letters. These numbers before the letters are called coefficients. Again, in my expression the coefficients are

12, 9 and -12

Like terms are terms that have the same variables in them. In my expression

9st and -12st are lie terms.

I hope this helps,