Subtract Exponents of like bases

Formula and examples of how to subtract exponents

Formula for Subtracting Exponents

The general formula for simplifying negative exponents is shown in image below

Examples of Subtracting Exponents Formula

There are two ways to demonstrate the reason behind this formula

  1. Explanation 1: If you expand the numerator and the denominator, you can see that we cancel several x's that are common factors. ALl that remains is x*x which, of course, is x2
  2. Explanation 2: Rewrite the denominator as negative exponent and then simplify.

Practice Problems: Subtracting Exponents of like bases

Use the formula for subtracting exponents to simplify each expression below.

Problem 1
Problem 2
Problem 3
Problem 4