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Question

Determine which of the following polynomials has (x + 1) a factor:

(i) x3 + x2 + x + 1 (ii) x4 + x3 + x2 + x + 1

(iii) x4 + 3x3 + 3x2 + x + 1 (iv)

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Solution

(i) If (x + 1) is a factor of p(x) = x3 + x2 + x + 1, then p (−1) must be zero, otherwise (x + 1) is not a factor of p(x).

p(x) = x3 + x2 + x + 1

p(−1) = (−1)3 + (−1)2 + (−1) + 1

= − 1 + 1 − 1 + 1 = 0

Hence, x + 1 is a factor of this polynomial.

(ii) If (x + 1) is a factor of p(x) = x4 + x3 + x2 + x + 1, then p (−1) must be zero, otherwise (x + 1) is not a factor of p(x).

p(x) = x4 + x3 + x2 + x + 1

p(−1) = (−1)4 + (−1)3 + (−1)2 + (−1) + 1

= 1 − 1 + 1 −1 + 1 = 1

As p(− 1) ≠ 0,

Therefore, x + 1 is not a factor of this polynomial.

(iii) If (x + 1) is a factor of polynomial p(x) = x4 + 3x3 + 3x2 + x + 1, then p(−1) must be 0, otherwise (x + 1) is not a factor of this polynomial.

p(−1) = (−1)4 + 3(−1)3 + 3(−1)2 + (−1) + 1

= 1 − 3 + 3 − 1 + 1 = 1

As p(−1) ≠ 0,

Therefore, x + 1 is not a factor of this polynomial.

(iv) If(x + 1) is a factor of polynomial p(x) = , then p(−1) must be 0, otherwise (x + 1) is not a factor of this polynomial.

As p(−1) ≠ 0,

Therefore, (x + 1) is not a factor of this polynomial.


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