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Rational Expressions

P(x )

Q(x ) P(x) and Q(x) are polynomials.

Q(x ) ≠ 0

STEPS (Simplifying):

1. Factor the numerator & denominator.

2. Make any restrictions.

3. Cancel out the factor common to both numerator & denominator.

EX. 1:

x +1

x + 3x + 2

2

x +1

= x ≠ −2 and − 1

(x + 2)(x + 1)

1

=

(x + 1)

EX. 2:

x 2 − 3x

x2 − 9

x( x − 3)

= x ≠ 3 and − 3

(x − 3)(x + 3)

x

=

(x + 3)

EX. 3:

2 x 2 + 14 x − 36

2x − 4

=

(

2 x 2 + 7 − 18 )

2( x − 2)

=

(

2 x 2 − 2 x + 9 x − 18 ) x≠2

2( x − 2 )

2( x − 2)( x + 9)

=

2( x − 2)

= (x + 9)

21

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

EX. 4:

2x 2 + 6x

2 x 2 − 18

2 x( x + 3)

=

2(x 2 − 9)

2 x( x + 3)

= x ≠ −3 and 3

2( x − 3)( x + 3)

x

=

(x − 3)

Can only be cancelled out if being multiplied with 2nd

term!!

22

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

P(x ) R( x )

•

Q( x ) S ( x )

P(x), Q(x), R(x), S(x) are polynomials.

Q(x) & S(x) ≠ 0

STEPS:

1. Factor.

2. State restrictions.

3. Write as one expression.

4. Cancel out factors.

EX. 1:

y2 + y 1

×

y − 3 y +1

y ( y + 1) 1

= × y ≠ 3 and − 1

y −3 y +1

y ( y + 1)

=

( y − 3)( y + 1)

y

=

( y − 3)

EX. 2:

3a − 3b a 2

×

a a −b

3(a − b ) a(a )

= × a ≠ b and 0

a a−b

3(a − b )(a )(a )

=

(a )(a − b )

= 3a

23

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

EX. 3:

x 2 + 6x + 8 2x 2 + x

× 2

x+2 x + 4x + 4

x + 4x + 2x + 8

2

x(2 x + 1)

= × 2

x+2 x + 2x + 2x + 4

x ( x + 4 ) + 2( x + 4 ) x(2 x + 1)

= ×

x+2 x( x + 2 ) + 2( x + 2 )

=

(x + 2)(x + 4) × x(2 x + 1) x ≠ −2

x+2 (x + 2)(x + 2)

=

(x + 2)(x + 4)(x )(2 x + 1)

(x + 2)(x + 2)(x + 2)

x( x + 4 )(2 x + 1)

=

(x + 2)(x + 2)

x( x + 4 )(2 x + 1)

=

( x + 2 )2

EX. 4:

x 2 x + 10

×

x 2

+ 8 x + 15 x2

x 2( x + 5)

= × x ≠ −5, − 3 and 0

(x + 5)(x + 3) x(x )

=

(x )(2)(x + 5)

(x + 5)(x + 3)(x )(x )

2

=

(x )(x + 3)

24

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

P(x ) S (x )

÷

Q(x ) R( x )

STEPS:

1. Factor.

2. Restrict.

3. Flip 2nd fraction and change ÷ to × .

4. Restrict.

5. Multiply.

EX. 1:

x2 − y2

÷ (2 x + 2 y )

x− y

=

(x − y )(x + y ) ÷ 2(x + y ) x≠ y

(x − y )

=

(x − y )(x + y ) × 1 x ≠ −y

(x − y ) 2(x + y )

=

(x − y )(x + y )

(x − y )(2)(x + y )

1

=

2

EX. 2:

y2 + y

÷ ( y + 1)

y−2

y ( y + 1)

= ÷ ( y + 1) y≠2

y−2

y ( y + 1) 1

= × y ≠ −1

y − 2 ( y + 1)

=

( y )( y + 1)

( y − 2)( y + 1)

y

=

y−2

25

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

EX. 3:

2x − 4 y 20

÷

3 x + 6 5 x + 10

2( x − 2 y ) 20

= ÷ x ≠ −2

3( x + 2 ) 5( x + 2 )

2( x − 2 y ) 5( x + 2 )

= × x ≠ −2

3( x + 2 ) 20

=

(2)(x − 2 y )(5)(x + 2)

(3)(x + 2)(20)

=

(10)(x − 2 y )

(60)

=

(x − 2 y )

6

EX. 4:

2m 2 + 7 m − 15 9m 2 − 4

÷

m+5 3m + 2

=

(x + 5)(2m − 3) ÷ (3m − 2)(3m + 2) m ≠ −5 and −

2

m+5 3m + 2 3

=

(m + 5)(2m − 3) × 3m + 2 2

m ≠ −5, − , and

2

m+5 (3m − 2)(3m + 2) 3 3

=

(m + 5)(2m + 3)(3m + 2)

(m + 5)(3m − 2)(3m + 2)

=

(2m − 3)

(3m − 2)

26

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

P(x ) S (x )

+ Q( x ), R( x ) ≠ 0

Q( x ) R( x )

P ( x )R( x ) + Q( x )S ( x )

=

Q( x )R (x )

a c ad + bc

+ =

b d bd

STEPS:

1. Factor.

2. Restrict.

3. Simplify.

4. Add/Subtract.

5. Factor, Simplify.

EX. 1:

3 3

+ x≠0

2 x 3x

3 1

= +

2x x

3x + 2 x

=

2 x( x )

5x

= 2

2x

5

=

2x

EX. 2:

a2 16

−

(a + 4) (a − 4)

a(a ) 16

= − a ≠ −4 and 4

(a + 4) (a − 4)

a 2 (a − 4 ) − 16(a + 4)

=

(a + 4)(a − 4)

a 3 − 4a 2 − 16a − 64

=

(a + 4)(a − 4)

a 2 (a − 4 ) − 16(a + 4)

=

(a + 4)(a − 4)

EX. 3:

27

Mathematics 334 Designed by Peter Nield Notes by Katherine Daignault

Westwood High School Grade 9 Student

x+2 x

− x ≠ 0 and − 1

x x +1

=

(x + 2)(x + 1) − x 2

x( x + 1)

x 2 + 3x + 2 − x 2

=

x( x + 1)

3x + 2

=

x( x + 1)

28

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