Simple patterns, variables, the order of operations, simplification, evaluation, linear equations and graphs, etc.
Underachiever
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Hi, all. I'm new here but have a dumb question that's really bugging me. Maybe someone has the answer. I just don't see any difference between the commutitive property of addition and the associative property. Other than commutitive involving two numbers and associative involving three (or more), I can't see why there has to be a distinction between them. Am I missing something or is this one of those things mathematitians just love to dwell on?

And while we're at it, it appears that the term "polynomial" has two meanings. One is the name for the whole body of "nomials" and other specifically represents an expression with more than three terms. Is this correct as well? Seems kinda confusing to me.

Thanx

stapel_eliz
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To learn about the basic number properties, try here.

Note: Since moving the numbers around, such as 3*2*1 versus 2*3*1, is different from regrouping, such as (3*2)*1 versus 3*(2*1), the commutative and associative properties are quite different.

"Polynomial" is used informally for any sum of terms, even the "sum" of just one term. But technically, yes, it refers to the sum of "poly", or "many", terms.

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