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Thread: possible factor

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    #1

    possible factor

    "When an expression is to be factored, we should always look first for a possible factor that is common to all terms."

    What does "possible factor" above mean?

    Source: Algebra and Trigonometry by Keedy/Bittinger.

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: possible factor

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertJ View Post
    Consider:

    x + x^2 + x^3 + xsinx + xcosx. It should be clear that x is not only a possible factor, but it IS a factor. Rewrite:

    x[1 + x + x^2 + sinx + cosx]
    What else word would you natives offer instead of possible used in this way and meaning?

    Thank you.

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    #3

    Re: possible factor

    In the example you gave, it's obvious that x is the only common factor.
    In more complex equations, you might need to ask "Is this a factor? Is this factor possible?" as you figure out whether (x-3) or (y+6) is a common factor. It's not immediately obvious, perhaps.

    Well, hmmm. X-3 might be a common factor... let's see if it works... yup, it works.
    That move it from being a "possible common factor" to an actual common factor.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: possible factor

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    In the example you gave, it's obvious that x is the only common factor.
    In more complex equations, you might need to ask "Is this a factor? Is this factor possible?" as you figure out whether (x-3) or (y+6) is a common factor. It's not immediately obvious, perhaps.

    Well, hmmm. X-3 might be a common factor... let's see if it works... yup, it works.
    That move it from being a "possible common factor" to an actual common factor.

    I think possible is very closed to potential here. Do you members agree?

    Thank you.

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    #5

    Re: possible factor

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    I think possible is very closed to potential here. Do you members agree?
    You could make that substitution in "possible/potential factor". It doesn't work in "Is this factor possible?"
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: possible factor

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    You could make that substitution in "possible/potential factor". It doesn't work in "Is this factor possible?"
    Instead of it can we say "This might be a potential factor"

    Thank you.

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    #7

    Re: possible factor

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    Instead of it can we say "This might be a potential factor"?
    "Might" and "potential" are redundant. Say "This is a potential factor" or "This might be​ a factor."
    I am not a teacher.

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