Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Ashley, a student:

what does square root means

Hi Ashley,

The square root of a number $y$ a number $x$ so that $x^2 = y.$ Thus for example a square root of 9 is 3 since $3^2 = 9.$ Also -3 is a square root of 9 since $(-3)^2 = 9.$ There is a special symbol that is used for the positive square root, it is $\sqrt{\;\; }$. Thus $\sqrt9 = 3.$ The button on your calculator with the $\sqrt{\;\;}$ symbol on it performs this task.



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