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Degree of a Polynomial

Date: 31 Dec 1994 15:17:50 -0500
From: Guy
Subject: question on degree of polynomial

Hello, I'm a secondary teacher in British Columbia with a question about 
the degree of a polynomial that I was asked by a student.  The degree of 
the polynomial is the exponent sum of the variables, so that x^2 y^3 is 
degree 5, but what about x^3 y^(-2)?  Is the exponent sum 1 or is it 
the absolute value sum and degree 5?  I assume it will be the absolute 
value sum but I'm not certain.  Thank you in advance.

Date: 1 Jan 1995 20:49:23 -0500
From: Dr. Ken
Subject: Re: question on degree of polynomial

Hello Guy!

This is a good question, but the answer is not what you might expect, 
since it's actually neither of the choices you present.  A polynomial 
cannot have a negative exponent, so your example of x^3 y^(-2) fails that
rule, making it a moot point with regard to the degree.

I hope this helps you!  Write back if you have more problems!

-Ken "Dr." Math
Associated Topics:
High School Polynomials

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