When you multiply a number by itself, you raise it to a power. A power is a product in which all of the factors are the same. To indicate that you are raising a number to a given power, you employ an exponent. An exponent tells you the number of times by which you multiply a number by itself to arrive at the value you seek. Consider the following expressions:

a × a = a^{2} | 2 × 2 = 2^{2} = 4 |

a × a × a = a^{3} | 2 × 2 × 2 = 2^{3} = 8 |

a × a × a × a = a^{4} | 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 2^{4} = 16 |

In the expression a^{2}, the a is the base of the expression, and the 2 is the exponent. The base provides the number you use in the multiplication. The exponent tells you how many times to multiply the number by itself.

When you use a negative number as ...

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