When you add the terms that a polynomial contains, one of the first steps is to group like terms. Like terms identify what you are adding. Here is an equation with like terms:

2x + 3x

In this instance, the terms of the equation constitute like terms because each term consists of the variable x. Each of the like terms is associated with an integer coefficient. To solve for x, you put the distributive property to work:

(2 + 3)x = 5x

Here is an extended example of the same type of operation:

6x + 7x − 4x + 8x − x

= (6x + 7x) − 4x + 8x − x

= (13x − 4x)+ 8x − x

= (9x + 8x) − x

= (17x − x)

= 16x

For each step, you successively group like terms, and then carry out additions or subtractions. In the end, you have combined ...

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