## How to Find the Greatest Common Factor in Algebra

Finding the greatest common factor in algebra is easy.## Question

What is the greatest common factor of the terms shown below?## Step-by-Step:

## 1

Look at the number that appears in both terms.
Find the greatest common factor of these numbers. In our example, the greatest common factor of 2 and 4 is 2.
finding the greatest common factor of a number

**2**x

^{2}y

^{2},

**4**xy

^{3}

## 2

Look at the letters (and/or brackets) that appear in both terms. In our example,

**x**and**y**appear in both terms. For each letter that appears in both terms, find the letter with the smallest exponent.- Look at the
**x**terms.2**x**y^{2}^{2}, 4**x**y^{3}**x**has the smallest exponent. (**x**has an*implicit*exponent of 1 (**x**=**x**), whereas^{1}**x**has an exponent of 2).^{2} - Look at the
**y**terms.2x^{2}**y**, 4x^{2}**y**^{3}**y**has the smallest exponent. (^{2}**y**has an exponent of 2, whereas^{2}**y**has an exponent of 3).^{3}

## 3

Write the terms found in the previous

**Steps**next to each other.## Answer:

The greatest common factor of**2x**and

^{2}y^{2}**4xy**is:

^{3}## What Is a Factor in Algebra?

A factor is a quantity that divides exactly into a term. A factor is one of the numbers, letters and brackets (or a product of them) that are multiplied together to make a term.## What Is the Greatest Common Factor in Algebra?

The greatest common factor in algebra is the largest factor that is common to two or more terms.## Finding the Greatest Common Factor of More Than Two Terms

In the examples here, the greatest common factor has been been found for two terms. But the same procedure extends to any number of terms.## You might also like...

algebra curriculumunderstanding the greatest common factor in algebrafactoring an expressionunderstanding algebraic fractions

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