* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday,
December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.

There are only two terms in this expression that are like: 3xy and -6xy.

is , so our simplified expression will be:

Example 2

Simplify:

The parentheses in this expression are not necessary, since it doesn't change how we treat each expression. We can rewrite it without these.

The tricky part with this problem is to keep the correct addition and subtraction signs with each term. Notice that it is , and also .

Example 3

Simplify:

There are two things to be careful with in this problem.

First, each term in the second expression is being subtracted, so we must "distribute" the subtraction sign to each term when removing the parentheses.

Notice also that when we distribute the subtraction to another subtraction, it becomes addition.

The second thing we need to be cautious with is the last term, b. Even though it doesn't show a coefficient, it is the same as 1b.