How to Multiply Letters in Algebra

Multiplying Letters in Algebra

Letters can be multiplied with numbers, other letters and the same letter.

  • A letter can be multiplied with a number.

    a times 2 equals 2a

    Write the number in front of the letter.

  • A letter can be multiplied with a different letter.

    a times b equals ab

    Write the letters next to each other.

  • A letter can be multiplied with the same letter.

    a times a equals a squared

    When you multiply a letter with itself, use exponent notation. A letter is multiplied by itself is squared. A small 2 is written above and to the right of the letter to indicate it is mutlipled by itself 2 times.

Multiplying Letters to Make Terms

A term is a collection of letters and numbers multiplied together.

In the examples above, the letter a has been multiplied with a number, the letter b and itself to make terms.

These multiplications can all be combined to make a more complicated term:

a times 2 times b times a equals 2 a squared b

We just write the letters and numbers next to each other. If a letter is multiplied by itself, write an exponent by that letter to show how many times the letter has been multiplied by itself.

Terms can then be multiplied together.

Read more about how to multiply terms

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See Also

What is algebra? What is an exponent? What is a square number? What is a term? How to multiply terms in algebra The laws of exponents How to multiply letters with exponents