Simplifying Rational Expressions
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Simplify each of the following rational expressions.

1. ** **

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There isn’t a lot to these
problems. Just factor the numerator and
denominator as much as possible then cancel all like terms. Recall that you can only cancel terms that
multiply the whole numerator and whole denominator. In other words, you can’t just cancel the and you can’t cancel a 4 from the 8 in the
numerator and the 4 in the denominator.
Things just don’t work this way.

If you need convincing of this
consider the following number example.

Here is the answer to this
problem.

2. ** **

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In this one you’ve got to be a
little careful. First factor the
numerator and denominator.

At first glance it doesn’t look
like anything will cancel. However
remember that

Using this on the term in the
denominator gives the following.

Also recall that

so it doesn’t matter where you put
the minus sign.