I'm confused, a negative number with an exponent (exponentiation), will first have the exponent evaluated, and then have the opposite applied, ie. -2^2 = -4
However, if the negative number is enclosed with parentheses, (-2)^2, that indicates (-2) x (-2) = 4
So my question, when finding points for graphing a parabola, it appears from the examples I have studied that any negative values for x^2 always come out positive when evaluated in the quadratic equation, but there are no parentheses enclosing that value.
f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c
f(-2) = -2^2 + 4(-2) + 3 = -9, but all the examples that I study would evaluate this as f(-2) = (-2)^2 + 4(-2) + 3 = -1. But the parentheses are not shown, what rule or concept am I missing?
Thanks in advance.