# Like and Unlike Terms

How like and unlike terms are different from each other?

The terms which have the same literal coefficients raised to the same powers but may only differ in numerical coefficient are called similar or like terms.

For example:

(i) 3m and –7m are like terms

(ii) z and  3/2 z are like terms

The terms which do not have the same literal coefficients raised to the same powers are called dissimilar or unlike terms.

For example:

(i) 9p and 9q are unlike terms

(ii) x/3 and y/3 are unlike terms

Solved examples on like and unlike terms:

1. In algebraic expression 5x2y + 4xy2 – xy – 9yx2

Here, the like terms are 5x2y, – 9yx2 since each of them having the same literal coefficients x2y.

And the unlike terms are 4xy2, – xy since each of them having the different literal coefficients.

2. In algebraic expression 5x2 – 3y2 – 7x2 + 5xy + 4y2 + x2 – 2ab

Here, the like terms are 5x2, – 7x2, x2 and – 3y2, 4y2.

And the unlike terms are 5xy and – 2ab

3. Separate like & unlike terms from algebraic expression 5m2 – 3mn + 7m2n.

Here we see that all the terms of the given expression are unlike.

4. List out the like terms from each set:

(i) 7a, -5a, -8b, -a, a/3

7a, -5a, -a, a/3 are the set of like terms.

(ii) –xy, 3y, 5xy, -x, -xy/11

–xy, 5xy, -xy/11 are the set of like terms.

(iii) 2p3q2, -4p2q3, 7q2p3, -2p3q2

2p3q2, 7q2p3, -2p3q2 are the set of like terms.

(iv) 2x2y, 3x3y, 2xy2, 4yx2, -2x2y, -3yx2

2x2y, 4yx2, -2x2y, -3yx2 are the set of like terms.

(v) a2b3, -5a3b2, 7a3b2, 11a3b3, -3b2a3

-5a3b2, 7a3b2, -3b2a3 are the set of like terms.

Note: We can add or subtract like terms but in case of unlike terms we cannot add or subtract.

Like Terms

Subtraction of Like Terms

Unlike Terms

Subtraction of Unlike Terms