Polynomials are the algebraic expressions which consist of variables and coefficients. Variables are also sometimes called indeterminates. We can perform the arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and also positive integer exponents for polynomial expressions but not division by variable. An example of a polynomial with one variable is x2+x-12. In this example, there are three terms: x2, x and -12.
The word polynomial is derived from the Greek words ‘poly’ means ‘many’ and ‘nominal’ means ‘terms’, so altogether it said “many terms”. A polynomial can have any number of terms but not infinite. Learn about degree, terms, types, properties, polynomial functions in this article.
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What is a Polynomial?
Polynomial is made up of two terms, namely Poly (meaning “many”) and Nominal (meaning “terms.”). A polynomial is defined as an expression which is composed of variables, constants and exponents, that are combined using the mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (No division operation by a variable). Based on the numbers of terms present in the expression, it is classified as monomial, binomial, and trinomial. Examples of constants, variables and exponents are as follows:
- Constants. Example: 1, 2, 3, etc.
- Variables. Example: g, h, x, y, etc.
- Exponents: Example: 5 in x5 etc.
The polynomial function is denoted by P(x) where x represents the variable. For example,
P(x) = x2-5x+11
If the variable is denoted by a, then the function will be P(a)
Degree of a Polynomial
The degree of a polynomial is defined as the highest degree of a monomial within a polynomial. Thus, a polynomial equation having one variable which has the largest exponent is called a degree of the polynomial.
|Constant or Zero Polynomial||0||6|
Example: Find the degree of the polynomial 6s4+ 3x2+ 5x +19
The degree of the polynomial is 4.
Terms of a Polynomial
The terms of polynomials are the parts of the equation which are generally separated by “+” or “-” signs. So, each part of a polynomial in an equation is a term. For example, in a polynomial, say, 2x2 + 5 +4, the number of terms will be 3. The classification of a polynomial is done based on the number of terms in it.
|P(x) = x3-2x2+3x+4||x3, -2x2, 3x and 4||3|
Types of Polynomials
Polynomials are of 3 different types and are classified based on the number of terms in it. The three types of polynomials are:
A monomial is an expression which contains only one term. For an expression to be a monomial, the single term should be a non-zero term. A few examples of monomials are:
A binomial is a polynomial expression which contains exactly two terms. A binomial can be considered as a sum or difference between two or more monomials. A few examples of binomials are:
- – 5x+3,
- 6a4 + 17x
A trinomial is an expression which is composed of exactly three terms. A few examples of trinomial expressions are:
- – 8a4+2x+7
- 4x2 + 9x + 7
|One Term||Two terms||Three terms|
|Example: x, 3y, 29, x/2||Example: x2+x, x3-2x, y+2||Example: x2+2x+20|
Some of the important properties of polynomials along with some important polynomial theorems are as follows:
Property 1: Division Algorithm
If a polynomial P(x) is divided by a polynomial G(x) results in quotient Q(x) with remainder R(x), then,
P(x) = G(x) • Q(x) + R(x)
Property 2: Bezout’s Theorem
Polynomial P(x) is divisible by binomial (x – a) if and only if P(a) = 0.
Property 3: Remainder Theorem
If P(x) is divided by (x – a) with remainder r, then P(a) = r.
Property 4: Factor Theorem
A polynomial P(x) divided by Q(x) results in R(x) with zero remainders if and only if Q(x) is a factor of P(x).
Learn More: Factor Theorem
Property 5: Intermediate Value Theorem
If P(x) is a polynomial, and P(x) ≠ P(y) for (x < y), then P(x) takes every value from P(x) to P(y) in the closed interval [x, y].
Learn More: Intermediate Value Theorem
The addition, subtraction and multiplication of polynomials P and Q result in a polynomial where,
Degree(P ± Q) ≤ Degree(P or Q)
Degree(P × Q) = Degree(P) + Degree(Q)
If a polynomial P is divisible by a polynomial Q, then every zero of Q is also a zero of P.
If a polynomial P is divisible by two coprime polynomials Q and R, then it is divisible by (Q • R).
If P(x) = a0 + a1x + a2x2 + …… + anxn is a polynomial such that deg(P) = n ≥ 0 then, P has at most “n” distinct roots.
Property 10: Descartes’ Rule of Sign
The number of positive real zeroes in a polynomial function P(x) is the same or less than by an even number as the number of changes in the sign of the coefficients. So, if there are “K” sign changes, the number of roots will be “k” or “(k – a)”, where “a” is some even number.
Property 11: Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
Every non-constant single-variable polynomial with complex coefficients has at least one complex root.
If P(x) is a polynomial with real coefficients and has one complex zero (x = a – bi), then x = a + bi will also be a zero of P(x). Also, x2 – 2ax + a2 + b2 will be a factor of P(x).
The polynomial equations are those expressions which are made up of multiple constants and variables. The standard form of writing a polynomial equation is to put the highest degree first then, at last, the constant term. An example of a polynomial equation is:
b = a4 +3a3 -2a2 +a +1
A polynomial function is an expression constructed with one or more terms of variables with constant exponents. If there are real numbers denoted by a, then function with one variable and of degree n can be written as:
|f(x) = a0xn + a1xn-1 + a2xn-2 + ….. + an-2x2 + an-1x + an|
Any polynomial can be easily solved using basic algebra and factorization concepts. While solving the polynomial equation, the first step is to set the right-hand side as 0. The explanation of a polynomial solution is explained in two different ways:
- Solving Linear Polynomials
- Solving Quadratic Polynomials
Solving Linear Polynomials
Getting the solution of linear polynomials is easy and simple. First, isolate the variable term and make the equation as equal to zero. Then solve as basic algebra operation. An example of finding the solution of a linear equation is given below:
Example: Solve 3x – 9
First, make the equation as 0. So,
3x – 9 = 0
⇒ 3x = 9
⇒ x = 9/3
Or, x = 3.
Solving Quadratic Polynomials
To solve a quadratic polynomial, first, rewrite the expression in the descending order of degree. Then, equate the equation and perform polynomial factorization to get the solution of the equation. An example to find the solution of a quadratic polynomial is given below for better understanding.
Example: Solve 3x2 – 6x + x3 – 18
First, arrange the polynomial in the descending order of degree and equate to zero.
⇒ x3 + 3x2 -6x – 18 = 0
Now, take the common terms.
x2(x+3) – 6(x+3) =0
So, the solutions will be x =-3 and
x2 = 6
Or, x = √6
More Polynomials Related Resources:
There are four main polynomial operations which are:
- Addition of Polynomials
- Subtraction of Polynomials
- Multiplication of Polynomials
- Division of Polynomials
Addition of Polynomials
To add polynomials, always add the like terms, i.e. the terms having the same variable and power. The addition of polynomials always results in a polynomial of the same degree. For example,
Example: Find the sum of two polynomials: 5x3+3x2y+4xy−6y2, 3x2+7x2y−2xy+4xy2−5
First, combine the like terms while leaving the unlike terms as they are. Hence,
Subtraction of Polynomials
Subtracting polynomials is similar to addition, the only difference being the type of operation. So, subtract the like terms to obtain the solution. It should be noted that subtraction of polynomials also results in a polynomial of the same degree.
Example: Find the difference of two polynomials: 5x3+3x2y+4xy−6y2, 3x2+7x2y−2xy+4xy2−5
First, combine the like terms while leaving the unlike terms as they are. Hence,
Multiplication of Polynomials
Two or more polynomial when multiplied always result in a polynomial of higher degree (unless one of them is a constant polynomial). An example of multiplying polynomials is given below:
Example: Solve (6x−3y)×(2x+5y)
⇒ 6x ×(2x+5y)–3y × (2x+5y) ———- Using distributive law of multiplication
⇒ (12x2+30xy) – (6yx+15y2) ———- Using distributive law of multiplication
⇒12x2+30xy–6xy–15y2 —————– as xy = yx
Division of Polynomials
Division of two polynomial may or may not result in a polynomial. Let us study below the division of polynomials in details. To divide polynomials, follow the given steps:
Polynomial Division Steps:
If a polynomial has more than one term, we use long division method for the same. Following are the steps for it.
- Write the polynomial in descending order.
- Check the highest power and divide the terms by the same.
- Use the answer in step 2 as the division symbol.
- Now subtract it and bring down the next term.
- Repeat step 2 to 4 until you have no more terms to carry down.
- Note the final answer, including remainder, will be in the fraction form (last subtract term).
Given two polynomial 7s3+2s2+3s+9 and 5s2+2s+1.
Solve these using mathematical operation.
7s3+2s2+3s+9 and 5s2+2s+1
Polynomial Addition: (7s3+2s2+3s+9) + (5s2+2s+1)
Hence, addition result in a polynomial.
Polynomial Subtraction: (7s3+2s2+3s+9) – (5s2+2s+1)
Hence addition result in a polynomial.
Polynomial Multiplication:(7s3+2s2+3s+9) × (5s2+2s+1)
= 7s3 (5s2+2s+1)+2s2 (5s2+2s+1)+3s (5s2+2s+1)+9 (5s2+2s+1))
= (35s5+14s4+7s3)+ (10s4+4s3+2s2)+ (15s3+6s2+3s)+(45s2+18s+9)
= 35s5+(14s4+10s4)+(7s3+4s3+15s3)+ (2s2+6s2+45s2)+ (3s+18s)+9
= 35s5+24s4+26s3+ 53s2+ 21s +9
Polynomial Division: (7s3+2s2+3s+9) ÷ (5s2+2s+1)
This cannot be simplified. Therefore, division of these polynomial do not result in a Polynomial.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What is a Polynomial?
What are terms, degrees and exponents in a polynomial?
Terms: 2x2,-3x & 19
Degree: 2 (the highest exponent of variable x)
Exponents: Power raised to variable x, i.e. 2 and 1.
What is the standard form of the polynomial?
What are the types of polynomials?
Monomial: It is an expression that has one term. Ex: x, y, z, 23, etc.
Binomial: It is an expression that has two terms. Ex: 2x+y, x2 – x, etc.
Trinomial: It is an expression that has three terms. Ex: x3 – 3x + 10.
A polynomial can have any number of terms but not infinite.
Is 8 a polynomial?
How to add and subtract polynomials?
For example if we add x2+3x and 2x2 + 2x + 9, then we get:
x2+3x+2x2+2x+9 = 3x2+5x+9. Subtracting polynomials is similar to addition, the only difference being the type of operation. So, subtract the like terms to obtain the solution. It should be noted that subtraction of polynomials also results in a polynomial of the same degree.
x2+3x-(2x2+2x+9) = x2+3x-2x2-2x-9 = -x2+x-9