Polynomials

51 Divide Monomials

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Simplify expressions using the Quotient Property for Exponents
  • Simplify expressions with zero exponents
  • Simplify expressions using the quotient to a Power Property
  • Simplify expressions by applying several properties
  • Divide monomials

Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.

  1. Simplify: \frac{8}{24}.
    If you missed this problem, review (Figure).
  2. Simplify: {\left(2{m}^{3}\right)}^{5}.
    If you missed this problem, review (Figure).
  3. Simplify: \frac{12x}{12y}.
    If you missed this problem, review (Figure).

Simplify Expressions Using the Quotient Property for Exponents

Earlier in this chapter, we developed the properties of exponents for multiplication. We summarize these properties below.

Summary of Exponent Properties for Multiplication

If a\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}b are real numbers, and m\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}n are whole numbers, then

Product Property {a}^{m}·{a}^{n}={a}^{m+n}
Power Property {\left({a}^{m}\right)}^{n}={a}^{m·n}
Product to a Power {\left(ab\right)}^{m}={a}^{m}{b}^{m}

Now we will look at the exponent properties for division. A quick memory refresher may help before we get started. You have learned to simplify fractions by dividing out common factors from the numerator and denominator using the Equivalent Fractions Property. This property will also help you work with algebraic fractions—which are also quotients.

Equivalent Fractions Property

If a,b,\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}c are whole numbers where b\ne 0,c\ne 0,

\text{then}\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}\frac{a}{b}=\frac{a·c}{b·c}\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}\frac{a·c}{b·c}=\frac{a}{b}

As before, we’ll try to discover a property by looking at some examples.

Consider \frac{{x}^{5}}{{x}^{2}} and \frac{{x}^{2}}{{x}^{3}}
What do they mean? \frac{x·x·x·x·x}{x·x} \frac{x·x}{x·x·x}
Use the Equivalent Fractions Property. \frac{\overline{)x}·\overline{)x}·x·x·x}{\overline{)x}·\overline{)x}} \frac{\overline{)x}·\overline{)x}·1}{\overline{)x}·\overline{)x}·x}
Simplify. {x}^{3} \frac{1}{x}

Notice, in each case the bases were the same and we subtracted exponents.

When the larger exponent was in the numerator, we were left with factors in the numerator.

When the larger exponent was in the denominator, we were left with factors in the denominator—notice the numerator of 1.

We write:

\begin{array}{cccc}\hfill \frac{{x}^{5}}{{x}^{2}}\hfill & & & \hfill \frac{{x}^{2}}{{x}^{3}}\hfill \\ \hfill {x}^{5-2}\hfill & & & \hfill \frac{1}{{x}^{3-2}}\hfill \\ \hfill {x}^{3}\hfill & & & \hfill \frac{1}{x}\hfill \end{array}

This leads to the Quotient Property for Exponents.

Quotient Property for Exponents

If a is a real number, a\ne 0, and m\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}n are whole numbers, then

\frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}={a}^{m-n},m>n\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}\frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}},n>m

A couple of examples with numbers may help to verify this property.

\begin{array}{cccccccc}\hfill \frac{{3}^{4}}{{3}^{2}}& =\hfill & {3}^{4-2}\hfill & & & \hfill \phantom{\rule{4em}{0ex}}\frac{{5}^{2}}{{5}^{3}}& =\hfill & \frac{1}{{5}^{3-2}}\hfill \\ \hfill \frac{81}{9}& =\hfill & {3}^{2}\hfill & & & \hfill \phantom{\rule{4em}{0ex}}\frac{25}{125}& =\hfill & \frac{1}{{5}^{1}}\hfill \\ \hfill 9& =\hfill & 9✓\hfill & & & \hfill \phantom{\rule{4em}{0ex}}\frac{1}{5}& =\hfill & \frac{1}{5}✓\hfill \end{array}

Simplify: \frac{{x}^{9}}{{x}^{7}} \frac{{3}^{10}}{{3}^{2}}.

Solution

To simplify an expression with a quotient, we need to first compare the exponents in the numerator and denominator.



  1. Since 9 > 7, there are more factors of x in the numerator. x to the ninth power divided by x to the seventh power.
    Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}={a}^{m-n}. x to the power of 9 minus 7.
    Simplify. x squared.


  2. Since 10 > 2, there are more factors of x in the numerator. 3 to the tenth power divided by 3 squared.
    Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}={a}^{m-n}. 3 to the power of 10 minus 2.
    Simplify. 3 to the eighth power.


    Notice that when the larger exponent is in the numerator, we are left with factors in the numerator.

Simplify: \frac{{x}^{15}}{{x}^{10}} \frac{{6}^{14}}{{6}^{5}}.

{x}^{5}{6}^{9}

Simplify: \frac{{y}^{43}}{{y}^{37}} \frac{{10}^{15}}{{10}^{7}}.

{y}^{6}{10}^{8}

Simplify: \frac{{b}^{8}}{{b}^{12}} \frac{{7}^{3}}{{7}^{5}}.

Solution

To simplify an expression with a quotient, we need to first compare the exponents in the numerator and denominator.



  1. Since 12 > 8, there are more factors of b in the denominator. b to the eighth power divided b to the twelfth power.
    Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}}. 1 divided by b to the power of 12 minus 8.
    Simplify. 1 divided by b to the fourth power.


  2. Since 5 > 3, there are more factors of 3 in the denominator. 7 cubed divided by 7 to the fifth power.
    Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}}. 1 divided by 7 to the power of 5 minus 3.
    Simplify. 1 divided by 7 squared.
    Simplify. 1 forty-ninth.


    Notice that when the larger exponent is in the denominator, we are left with factors in the denominator.

Simplify: \frac{{x}^{18}}{{x}^{22}} \frac{{12}^{15}}{{12}^{30}}.

\frac{1}{{x}^{4}}\frac{1}{{12}^{15}}

Simplify: \frac{{m}^{7}}{{m}^{15}} \frac{{9}^{8}}{{9}^{19}}.

\frac{1}{{m}^{8}}\frac{1}{{9}^{11}}

Notice the difference in the two previous examples:

  • If we start with more factors in the numerator, we will end up with factors in the numerator.
  • If we start with more factors in the denominator, we will end up with factors in the denominator.


The first step in simplifying an expression using the Quotient Property for Exponents is to determine whether the exponent is larger in the numerator or the denominator.

Simplify: \frac{{a}^{5}}{{a}^{9}} \frac{{x}^{11}}{{x}^{7}}.

Solution
  1. Is the exponent of a larger in the numerator or denominator? Since 9 > 5, there are more a\text{'}\text{s} in the denominator and so we will end up with factors in the denominator.

    a to the fifth power divided by a to the ninth power.
    Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}}. 1 divided by a to the power of 9 minus 5.
    Simplify. 1 divided by a to the fourth power.
  2. Notice there are more factors of x in the numerator, since 11 > 7. So we will end up with factors in the numerator.

    x to the eleventh power divided by x to the seventh power.
    Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}}. x to the power of 11 minus 7.
    Simplify. x to the fourth power.

Simplify: \frac{{b}^{19}}{{b}^{11}} \frac{{z}^{5}}{{z}^{11}}.

{b}^{8}\frac{1}{{z}^{6}}

Simplify: \frac{{p}^{9}}{{p}^{17}} \frac{{w}^{13}}{{w}^{9}}.

\frac{1}{{p}^{8}}{w}^{4}

Simplify Expressions with an Exponent of Zero

A special case of the Quotient Property is when the exponents of the numerator and denominator are equal, such as an expression like \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{m}}. From your earlier work with fractions, you know that:

\frac{2}{2}=1\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\frac{17}{17}=1\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\frac{-43}{-43}=1

In words, a number divided by itself is 1. So, \frac{x}{x}=1, for any x\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\left(x\ne 0\right), since any number divided by itself is 1.

The Quotient Property for Exponents shows us how to simplify \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}} when m>n and when n<m by subtracting exponents. What if m=n?

Consider \frac{8}{8}, which we know is 1.

\begin{array}{c}\hfill \frac{8}{8}=1\hfill \end{array}
Write 8 as {2}^{3}. \begin{array}{c}\hfill \frac{{2}^{3}}{{2}^{3}}=1\hfill \end{array}
Subtract exponents. \begin{array}{c}\hfill {2}^{3-3}=1\hfill \end{array}
Simplify. \begin{array}{c}\hfill {2}^{0}=1\hfill \end{array}

Now we will simplify \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{m}} in two ways to lead us to the definition of the zero exponent. In general, for a\ne 0:

This figure is divided into two columns. At the top of the figure, the left and right columns both contain a to the m power divided by a to the m power. In the next row, the left column contains a to the m minus m power. The right column contains the fraction m factors of a divided by m factors of a, represented in the numerator and denominator by a times a followed by an ellipsis. All the as in the numerator and denominator are canceled out. In the bottom row, the left column contains a to the zero power. The right column contains 1.

We see \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{m}} simplifies to {a}^{0} and to 1. So {a}^{0}=1.

Zero Exponent

If a is a non-zero number, then {a}^{0}=1.

Any nonzero number raised to the zero power is 1.

In this text, we assume any variable that we raise to the zero power is not zero.

Simplify: {9}^{0} {n}^{0}.

Solution

The definition says any non-zero number raised to the zero power is 1.


Use the definition of the zero exponent.
\begin{array}{c}{9}^{0}\\ 1\end{array}

Use the definition of the zero exponent.
\begin{array}{c}{n}^{0}\\ 1\end{array}

Simplify: {15}^{0} {m}^{0}.

1 1

Simplify: {k}^{0} {29}^{0}.

1 1

Now that we have defined the zero exponent, we can expand all the Properties of Exponents to include whole number exponents.

What about raising an expression to the zero power? Let’s look at {\left(2x\right)}^{0}. We can use the product to a power rule to rewrite this expression.

{\left(2x\right)}^{0}
Use the product to a power rule. {2}^{0}{x}^{0}
Use the zero exponent property. 1·1
Simplify. 1

This tells us that any nonzero expression raised to the zero power is one.

Simplify: {\left(5b\right)}^{0} {\left(-4{a}^{2}b\right)}^{0}.

Solution
{\left(5b\right)}^{0}
Use the definition of the zero exponent. 1
{\left(-4{a}^{2}b\right)}^{0}
Use the definition of the zero exponent. 1

Simplify: {\left(11z\right)}^{0} {\left(-11p{q}^{3}\right)}^{0}.

11

Simplify: {\left(-6d\right)}^{0} {\left(-8{m}^{2}{n}^{3}\right)}^{0}.

11

Simplify Expressions Using the Quotient to a Power Property

Now we will look at an example that will lead us to the Quotient to a Power Property.

{\left(\frac{x}{y}\right)}^{3}
This means: \frac{x}{y}·\frac{x}{y}·\frac{x}{y}
Multiply the fractions. \frac{x·x·x}{y·y·y}
Write with exponents. \frac{{x}^{3}}{{y}^{3}}

Notice that the exponent applies to both the numerator and the denominator.

We write: {\left(\frac{x}{y}\right)}^{3}
\frac{{x}^{3}}{{y}^{3}}

This leads to the Quotient to a Power Property for Exponents.

Quotient to a Power Property for Exponents

If a and b are real numbers, b\ne 0, and m is a counting number, then

{\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}

To raise a fraction to a power, raise the numerator and denominator to that power.

An example with numbers may help you understand this property:

\begin{array}{ccc}\hfill {\left(\frac{2}{3}\right)}^{3}& =\hfill & \frac{{2}^{3}}{{3}^{3}}\hfill \\ \hfill \frac{2}{3}·\frac{2}{3}·\frac{2}{3}& =\hfill & \frac{8}{27}\hfill \\ \hfill \frac{8}{27}& =\hfill & \frac{8}{27}✓\hfill \end{array}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{3}{7}\right)}^{2} {\left(\frac{b}{3}\right)}^{4} {\left(\frac{k}{j}\right)}^{3}.

Solution


3 sevenths squared.
Use the Quotient Property, {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}. 3 squared divided by 7 squared.
Simplify. 9 forty-ninths.



b thirds to the fourth power.
Use the Quotient Property, {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}. b to the fourth power divided by 3 to the fourth power.
Simplify. b to the fourth power divided by 81.



k divided by j, in parentheses, cubed.
Raise the numerator and denominator to the third power. k cubed divided by j cubed.

Simplify: {\left(\frac{5}{8}\right)}^{2} {\left(\frac{p}{10}\right)}^{4} {\left(\frac{m}{n}\right)}^{7}.

\frac{25}{64}\frac{{p}^{4}}{10,000}\frac{{m}^{7}}{{n}^{7}}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{1}{3}\right)}^{3} {\left(\frac{-2}{q}\right)}^{3} {\left(\frac{w}{x}\right)}^{4}.

\frac{1}{27}\frac{-8}{{q}^{3}}\frac{{w}^{4}}{{x}^{4}}

Simplify Expressions by Applying Several Properties

We’ll now summarize all the properties of exponents so they are all together to refer to as we simplify expressions using several properties. Notice that they are now defined for whole number exponents.

Summary of Exponent Properties

If a\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}b are real numbers, and m\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}n are whole numbers, then

Product Property {a}^{m}·{a}^{n}={a}^{m+n}
Power Property {\left({a}^{m}\right)}^{n}={a}^{m·n}
Product to a Power {\left(ab\right)}^{m}={a}^{m}{b}^{m}
Quotient Property \begin{array}{ccc}\hfill \frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}& =\hfill & {a}^{m-n},a\ne 0,m>n\hfill \\ \hfill \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}& =\hfill & \frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}},a\ne 0,n>m\hfill \end{array}
Zero Exponent Definition {a}^{o}=1,a\ne 0
Quotient to a Power Property {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}},b\ne 0

Simplify: \frac{{\left({y}^{4}\right)}^{2}}{{y}^{6}}.

Solution
\frac{{\left({y}^{4}\right)}^{2}}{{y}^{6}}
Multiply the exponents in the numerator. \frac{{y}^{8}}{{y}^{6}}
Subtract the exponents. {y}^{2}

Simplify: \frac{{\left({m}^{5}\right)}^{4}}{{m}^{7}}.

{m}^{13}

Simplify: \frac{{\left({k}^{2}\right)}^{6}}{{k}^{7}}.

{k}^{5}

Simplify: \frac{{b}^{12}}{{\left({b}^{2}\right)}^{6}}.

Solution
\frac{{b}^{12}}{{\left({b}^{2}\right)}^{6}}
Multiply the exponents in the numerator. \frac{{b}^{12}}{{b}^{12}}
Subtract the exponents. {b}^{0}
Simplify. 1

Simplify: \frac{{n}^{12}}{{\left({n}^{3}\right)}^{4}}.

1

Simplify: \frac{{x}^{15}}{{\left({x}^{3}\right)}^{5}}.

1

Simplify: {\left(\frac{{y}^{9}}{{y}^{4}}\right)}^{2}.

Solution
{\left(\frac{{y}^{9}}{{y}^{4}}\right)}^{2}
Remember parentheses come before exponents.
Notice the bases are the same, so we can simplify
inside the parentheses. Subtract the exponents.
{\left({y}^{5}\right)}^{2}
Multiply the exponents. {y}^{10}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{{r}^{5}}{{r}^{3}}\right)}^{4}.

{r}^{8}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{{v}^{6}}{{v}^{4}}\right)}^{3}.

{v}^{6}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{{j}^{2}}{{k}^{3}}\right)}^{4}.

Solution

Here we cannot simplify inside the parentheses first, since the bases are not the same.

{\left(\frac{{j}^{2}}{{k}^{3}}\right)}^{4}
Raise the numberator and denominator to the third power
using the Quotient to a Power Property, {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}.
Use the Powert Property and simplify. \frac{{j}^{8}}{{k}^{12}}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{{a}^{3}}{{b}^{2}}\right)}^{4}.

\frac{{a}^{12}}{{b}^{8}}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{{q}^{7}}{{r}^{5}}\right)}^{3}.

\frac{{q}^{21}}{{r}^{15}}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{2{m}^{2}}{5n}\right)}^{4}.

Solution
{\left(\frac{2{m}^{2}}{5n}\right)}^{4}
Raise the numberator and denominator to the fourth power,
using the Quotient to a Power Property, {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}.
\frac{{\left(2{m}^{2}\right)}^{4}}{{\left(5n\right)}^{4}}
Raise each factor to the fourth power. \frac{{\left(2{m}^{2}\right)}^{4}}{{\left(5n\right)}^{4}}
Use the Power Property and simplify. \frac{16{m}^{8}}{625{n}^{4}}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{7{x}^{3}}{9y}\right)}^{2}.

\frac{49{x}^{6}}{81{y}^{2}}

Simplify: {\left(\frac{3{x}^{4}}{7y}\right)}^{2}.

\frac{9{x}^{8}}{49{y}^{2}}

Simplify: \frac{{\left({x}^{3}\right)}^{4}{\left({x}^{2}\right)}^{5}}{{\left({x}^{6}\right)}^{5}}.

Solution
\frac{{\left({x}^{3}\right)}^{4}{\left({x}^{2}\right)}^{5}}{{\left({x}^{6}\right)}^{5}}
Use the Power Property, {\left({a}^{m}\right)}^{n}={a}^{m·n}. \frac{\left({x}^{12}\right)\left({x}^{10}\right)}{\left({x}^{30}\right)}
Add the exponents in the numerator. \frac{{x}^{22}}{{x}^{30}}
Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}}. \frac{1}{{x}^{8}}

Simplify: \frac{{\left({a}^{2}\right)}^{3}{\left({a}^{2}\right)}^{4}}{{\left({a}^{4}\right)}^{5}}.

\frac{1}{{a}^{6}}

Simplify: \frac{{\left({p}^{3}\right)}^{4}{\left({p}^{5}\right)}^{3}}{{\left({p}^{7}\right)}^{6}}.

\frac{1}{{p}^{15}}

Simplify: \frac{{\left(10{p}^{3}\right)}^{2}}{{\left(5p\right)}^{3}{\left(2{p}^{5}\right)}^{4}}.

Solution
\frac{{\left(10{p}^{3}\right)}^{2}}{{\left(5p\right)}^{3}{\left(2{p}^{5}\right)}^{4}}
Use the Product to a Power Property, {\left(ab\right)}^{m}={a}^{m}{b}^{m}. \frac{{\left(10\right)}^{2}{\left({p}^{3}\right)}^{2}}{{\left(5\right)}^{3}{\left(p\right)}^{3}{\left(2\right)}^{4}{\left({p}^{5}\right)}^{4}}
Use the Power Property, {\left({a}^{m}\right)}^{n}={a}^{m·n}. \frac{100{p}^{6}}{125{p}^{3}·16{p}^{20}}
Add the exponents in the denominator. \frac{100{p}^{6}}{125·16{p}^{23}}
Use the Quotient Property, \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}}. \frac{100}{125·16{p}^{17}}
Simplify. \frac{1}{20{p}^{17}}

Simplify: \frac{{\left(3{r}^{3}\right)}^{2}{\left({r}^{3}\right)}^{7}}{{\left({r}^{3}\right)}^{3}}.

9{r}^{18}

Simplify: \frac{{\left(2{x}^{4}\right)}^{5}}{{\left(4{x}^{3}\right)}^{2}{\left({x}^{3}\right)}^{5}}.

\frac{2}{x}

Divide Monomials

You have now been introduced to all the properties of exponents and used them to simplify expressions. Next, you’ll see how to use these properties to divide monomials. Later, you’ll use them to divide polynomials.

Find the quotient: 56{x}^{7}÷8{x}^{3}.

Solution
56{x}^{7}÷8{x}^{3}
Rewrite as a fraction. \frac{56{x}^{7}}{8{x}^{3}}
Use fraction multiplication. \frac{56}{8}\cdot \frac{{x}^{7}}{{x}^{3}}
Simplify and use the Quotient Property. 7{x}^{4}

Find the quotient: 42{y}^{9}÷6{y}^{3}.

7{y}^{6}

Find the quotient: 48{z}^{8}÷8{z}^{2}.

6{z}^{6}

Find the quotient: \frac{45{a}^{2}{b}^{3}}{-5a{b}^{5}}.

Solution
\frac{45{a}^{2}{b}^{3}}{-5a{b}^{5}}
Use fraction multiplication. \frac{45}{-5}·\frac{{a}^{2}}{a}·\frac{{b}^{3}}{{b}^{5}}
Simplify and use the Quotient Property. -9·a·\frac{1}{{b}^{2}}
Multiply. -\frac{9a}{{b}^{2}}

Find the quotient: \frac{-72{a}^{7}{b}^{3}}{8{a}^{12}{b}^{4}}.

-\frac{9}{{a}^{5}b}

Find the quotient: \frac{-63{c}^{8}{d}^{3}}{7{c}^{12}{d}^{2}}.

\frac{-9d}{{c}^{4}}

Find the quotient: \frac{24{a}^{5}{b}^{3}}{48a{b}^{4}}.

Solution
\frac{24{a}^{5}{b}^{3}}{48a{b}^{4}}
Use fraction multiplication. \frac{24}{48}·\frac{{a}^{5}}{a}·\frac{{b}^{3}}{{b}^{4}}
Simplify and use the Quotient Property. \frac{1}{2}·{a}^{4}·\frac{1}{b}
Multiply. \frac{{a}^{4}}{2b}

Find the quotient: \frac{16{a}^{7}{b}^{6}}{24a{b}^{8}}.

\frac{2{a}^{6}}{3{b}^{2}}

Find the quotient: \frac{27{p}^{4}{q}^{7}}{-45{p}^{12}q}.

-\frac{3{q}^{6}}{5{p}^{8}}

Once you become familiar with the process and have practiced it step by step several times, you may be able to simplify a fraction in one step.

Find the quotient: \frac{14{x}^{7}{y}^{12}}{21{x}^{11}{y}^{6}}.

Solution

Be very careful to simplify \frac{14}{21} by dividing out a common factor, and to simplify the variables by subtracting their exponents.

\frac{14{x}^{7}{y}^{12}}{21{x}^{11}{y}^{6}}
Simplify and use the Quotient Property. \frac{2{y}^{6}}{3{x}^{4}}

Find the quotient: \frac{28{x}^{5}{y}^{14}}{49{x}^{9}{y}^{12}}.

\frac{4{y}^{2}}{7{x}^{4}}

Find the quotient: \frac{30{m}^{5}{n}^{11}}{48{m}^{10}{n}^{14}}.

\frac{5}{8{m}^{5}{n}^{3}}

In all examples so far, there was no work to do in the numerator or denominator before simplifying the fraction. In the next example, we’ll first find the product of two monomials in the numerator before we simplify the fraction. This follows the order of operations. Remember, a fraction bar is a grouping symbol.

Find the quotient: \frac{\left(6{x}^{2}{y}^{3}\right)\left(5{x}^{3}{y}^{2}\right)}{\left(3{x}^{4}{y}^{5}\right)}.

Solution
\frac{\left(6{x}^{2}{y}^{3}\right)\left(5{x}^{3}{y}^{2}\right)}{\left(3{x}^{4}{y}^{5}\right)}
Simplify the numerator. \frac{30{x}^{5}{y}^{5}}{3{x}^{4}{y}^{5}}
Simplify. 10x

Find the quotient: \frac{\left(6{a}^{4}{b}^{5}\right)\left(4{a}^{2}{b}^{5}\right)}{12{a}^{5}{b}^{8}}.

2a{b}^{2}

Find the quotient: \frac{\left(-12{x}^{6}{y}^{9}\right)\left(-4{x}^{5}{y}^{8}\right)}{-12{x}^{10}{y}^{12}}.

-4x{y}^{5}

Access these online resources for additional instruction and practice with dividing monomials:

Key Concepts

  • Quotient Property for Exponents:
    • If a is a real number, a\ne 0, and m,n are whole numbers, then:
      \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}={a}^{m-n},m>n\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}\text{and}\phantom{\rule{0.5em}{0ex}}\frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}=\frac{1}{{a}^{m-n}},n>m
  • Zero Exponent
    • If a is a non-zero number, then {a}^{0}=1.

  • Quotient to a Power Property for Exponents:
    • If a and b are real numbers, b\ne 0, and m is a counting number, then:
      {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}=\frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}
    • To raise a fraction to a power, raise the numerator and denominator to that power.

  • Summary of Exponent Properties
    • If a,b are real numbers and m,n are whole numbers, then
      \begin{array}{ccccc}\mathbf{\text{Product Property}}\hfill & & \hfill {a}^{m}·{a}^{n}& =\hfill & {a}^{m+n}\hfill \\ \mathbf{\text{Power Property}}\hfill & & \hfill {\left({a}^{m}\right)}^{n}& =\hfill & {a}^{m·n}\hfill \\ \mathbf{\text{Product to a Power}}\hfill & & \hfill {\left(ab\right)}^{m}& =\hfill & {a}^{m}{b}^{m}\hfill \\ \mathbf{\text{Quotient Property}}\hfill & & \hfill \frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}}& =\hfill & {a}^{m-n},a\ne 0,m>n\hfill \\ & & \hfill \frac{{a}^{m}}{{a}^{n}}& =\hfill & \frac{1}{{a}^{n-m}},a\ne 0,n>m\hfill \\ \mathbf{\text{Zero Exponent Definition}}\hfill & & \hfill {a}^{o}& =\hfill & 1,a\ne 0\hfill \\ \mathbf{\text{Quotient to a Power Property}}\hfill & & \hfill {\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{m}& =\hfill & \frac{{a}^{m}}{{b}^{m}},b\ne 0\hfill \end{array}

Practice Makes Perfect

Simplify Expressions Using the Quotient Property for Exponents

In the following exercises, simplify.

\frac{{x}^{18}}{{x}^{3}}\frac{{5}^{12}}{{5}^{3}}

\frac{{y}^{20}}{{y}^{10}}\frac{{7}^{16}}{{7}^{2}}

{y}^{10}{7}^{14}

\frac{{p}^{21}}{{p}^{7}}\frac{{4}^{16}}{{4}^{4}}

\frac{{u}^{24}}{{u}^{3}}\frac{{9}^{15}}{{9}^{5}}

{u}^{21}{9}^{10}

\frac{{q}^{18}}{{q}^{36}}\frac{{10}^{2}}{{10}^{3}}

\frac{{t}^{10}}{{t}^{40}}\frac{{8}^{3}}{{8}^{5}}

\frac{1}{{t}^{30}}\frac{1}{64}

\frac{b}{{b}^{9}}\frac{4}{{4}^{6}}

\frac{x}{{x}^{7}}\frac{10}{{10}^{3}}

\frac{1}{{x}^{6}}\frac{1}{100}

Simplify Expressions with Zero Exponents

In the following exercises, simplify.


{20}^{0}
{b}^{0}


{13}^{0}
{k}^{0}

1 1


\text{−}{27}^{0}
\text{−}\left({27}^{0}\right)


\text{−}{15}^{0}
\text{−}\left({15}^{0}\right)

-1-1


{\left(25x\right)}^{0}
25{x}^{0}


{\left(6y\right)}^{0}
6{y}^{0}

1 6


{\left(12x\right)}^{0}
{\left(-56{p}^{4}{q}^{3}\right)}^{0}


7{y}^{0}{\left(17y\right)}^{0}
{\left(-93{c}^{7}{d}^{15}\right)}^{0}

7 1


12{n}^{0}-18{m}^{0}
{\left(12n\right)}^{0}-{\left(18m\right)}^{0}


15{r}^{0}-22{s}^{0}
{\left(15r\right)}^{0}-{\left(22s\right)}^{0}

-7 0

Simplify Expressions Using the Quotient to a Power Property

In the following exercises, simplify.

{\left(\frac{3}{4}\right)}^{3}{\left(\frac{p}{2}\right)}^{5}{\left(\frac{x}{y}\right)}^{6}

{\left(\frac{2}{5}\right)}^{2}{\left(\frac{x}{3}\right)}^{4}{\left(\frac{a}{b}\right)}^{5}

\frac{4}{25}\frac{{x}^{4}}{81}\frac{{a}^{5}}{{b}^{5}}

{\left(\frac{a}{3b}\right)}^{4}{\left(\frac{5}{4m}\right)}^{2}

{\left(\frac{x}{2y}\right)}^{3}{\left(\frac{10}{3q}\right)}^{4}

\frac{{x}^{3}}{8{y}^{3}}\frac{10,000}{81{q}^{4}}

Simplify Expressions by Applying Several Properties

In the following exercises, simplify.

\frac{{\left({a}^{2}\right)}^{3}}{{a}^{4}}

\frac{{\left({p}^{3}\right)}^{4}}{{p}^{5}}

{p}^{7}

\frac{{\left({y}^{3}\right)}^{4}}{{y}^{10}}

\frac{{\left({x}^{4}\right)}^{5}}{{x}^{15}}

{x}^{5}

\frac{{u}^{6}}{{\left({u}^{3}\right)}^{2}}

\frac{{v}^{20}}{{\left({v}^{4}\right)}^{5}}

1

\frac{{m}^{12}}{{\left({m}^{8}\right)}^{3}}

\frac{{n}^{8}}{{\left({n}^{6}\right)}^{4}}

\frac{1}{{n}^{16}}

{\left(\frac{{p}^{9}}{{p}^{3}}\right)}^{5}

{\left(\frac{{q}^{8}}{{q}^{2}}\right)}^{3}

{q}^{18}

{\left(\frac{{r}^{2}}{{r}^{6}}\right)}^{3}

{\left(\frac{{m}^{4}}{{m}^{7}}\right)}^{4}

\frac{1}{{m}^{12}}

{\left(\frac{p}{{r}^{11}}\right)}^{2}

{\left(\frac{a}{{b}^{6}}\right)}^{3}

\frac{{a}^{3}}{{b}^{18}}

{\left(\frac{{w}^{5}}{{x}^{3}}\right)}^{8}

{\left(\frac{{y}^{4}}{{z}^{10}}\right)}^{5}

\frac{{y}^{20}}{{z}^{50}}

{\left(\frac{2{j}^{3}}{3k}\right)}^{4}

{\left(\frac{3{m}^{5}}{5n}\right)}^{3}

\frac{27{m}^{15}}{125{n}^{3}}

{\left(\frac{3{c}^{2}}{4{d}^{6}}\right)}^{3}

{\left(\frac{5{u}^{7}}{2{v}^{3}}\right)}^{4}

\frac{625{u}^{28}}{16{v}^{{}^{12}}}

{\left(\frac{{k}^{2}{k}^{8}}{{k}^{3}}\right)}^{2}

{\left(\frac{{j}^{2}{j}^{5}}{{j}^{4}}\right)}^{3}

{j}^{9}

\frac{{\left({t}^{2}\right)}^{5}{\left({t}^{4}\right)}^{2}}{{\left({t}^{3}\right)}^{7}}

\frac{{\left({q}^{3}\right)}^{6}{\left({q}^{2}\right)}^{3}}{{\left({q}^{4}\right)}^{8}}

\frac{1}{{q}^{8}}

\frac{{\left(-2{p}^{2}\right)}^{4}{\left(3{p}^{4}\right)}^{2}}{{\left(-6{p}^{3}\right)}^{2}}

\frac{{\left(-2{k}^{3}\right)}^{2}{\left(6{k}^{2}\right)}^{4}}{{\left(9{k}^{4}\right)}^{2}}

64{k}^{6}

\frac{{\left(-4{m}^{3}\right)}^{2}{\left(5{m}^{4}\right)}^{3}}{{\left(-10{m}^{6}\right)}^{3}}

\frac{{\left(-10{n}^{2}\right)}^{3}{\left(4{n}^{5}\right)}^{2}}{{\left(2{n}^{8}\right)}^{2}}

-4,000

Divide Monomials

In the following exercises, divide the monomials.

56{b}^{8}÷7{b}^{2}

63{v}^{10}÷9{v}^{2}

7{v}^{8}

-88{y}^{15}÷8{y}^{3}

-72{u}^{12}÷12{u}^{4}

-6{u}^{8}

\frac{45{a}^{6}{b}^{8}}{-15{a}^{10}{b}^{2}}

\frac{54{x}^{9}{y}^{3}}{-18{x}^{6}{y}^{15}}

-\frac{3{x}^{3}}{{y}^{12}}

\frac{15{r}^{4}{s}^{9}}{18{r}^{9}{s}^{2}}

\frac{20{m}^{8}{n}^{4}}{30{m}^{5}{n}^{9}}

\frac{-2{m}^{3}}{3{n}^{5}}

\frac{18{a}^{4}{b}^{8}}{-27{a}^{9}{b}^{5}}

\frac{45{x}^{5}{y}^{9}}{-60{x}^{8}{y}^{6}}

\frac{-3{y}^{3}}{4{x}^{3}}

\frac{64{q}^{11}{r}^{9}{s}^{3}}{48{q}^{6}{r}^{8}{s}^{5}}

\frac{65{a}^{10}{b}^{8}{c}^{5}}{42{a}^{7}{b}^{6}{c}^{8}}

\frac{65{a}^{3}{b}^{2}}{42{c}^{3}}

\frac{\left(10{m}^{5}{n}^{4}\right)\left(5{m}^{3}{n}^{6}\right)}{25{m}^{7}{n}^{5}}

\frac{\left(-18{p}^{4}{q}^{7}\right)\left(-6{p}^{3}{q}^{8}\right)}{-36{p}^{12}{q}^{10}}

\frac{-3{q}^{5}}{{p}^{5}}

\frac{\left(6{a}^{4}{b}^{3}\right)\left(4a{b}^{5}\right)}{\left(12{a}^{2}b\right)\left({a}^{3}b\right)}

\frac{\left(4{u}^{2}{v}^{5}\right)\left(15{u}^{3}v\right)}{\left(12{u}^{3}v\right)\left({u}^{4}v\right)}

\frac{5{v}^{4}}{{u}^{2}}

Mixed Practice


24{a}^{5}+2{a}^{5}
24{a}^{5}-2{a}^{5}
24{a}^{5}·2{a}^{5}
24{a}^{5}÷2{a}^{5}


15{n}^{10}+3{n}^{10}
15{n}^{10}-3{n}^{10}
15{n}^{10}·3{n}^{10}
15{n}^{10}÷3{n}^{10}

18{n}^{10}
12{n}^{10}
45{n}^{20}
5


{p}^{4}·{p}^{6}
{\left({p}^{4}\right)}^{6}


{q}^{5}·{q}^{3}
{\left({q}^{5}\right)}^{3}

{q}^{8}
{q}^{15}


\frac{{y}^{3}}{y}
\frac{y}{{y}^{3}}


\frac{{z}^{6}}{{z}^{5}}
\frac{{z}^{5}}{{z}^{6}}

z\frac{1}{z}

\left(8{x}^{5}\right)\left(9x\right)÷6{x}^{3}

\left(4y\right)\left(12{y}^{7}\right)÷8{y}^{2}

6{y}^{6}

\frac{27{a}^{7}}{3{a}^{3}}+\frac{54{a}^{9}}{9{a}^{5}}

\frac{32{c}^{11}}{4{c}^{5}}+\frac{42{c}^{9}}{6{c}^{3}}

15{c}^{6}

\frac{32{y}^{5}}{8{y}^{2}}-\frac{60{y}^{10}}{5{y}^{7}}

\frac{48{x}^{6}}{6{x}^{4}}-\frac{35{x}^{9}}{7{x}^{7}}

3{x}^{2}

\frac{63{r}^{6}{s}^{3}}{9{r}^{4}{s}^{2}}-\frac{72{r}^{2}{s}^{2}}{6s}

\frac{56{y}^{4}{z}^{5}}{7{y}^{3}{z}^{3}}-\frac{45{y}^{2}{z}^{2}}{5y}

\text{−}y{z}^{2}

Everyday Math

Memory One megabyte is approximately {10}^{6} bytes. One gigabyte is approximately {10}^{9} bytes. How many megabytes are in one gigabyte?

Memory One gigabyte is approximately {10}^{9} bytes. One terabyte is approximately {10}^{12} bytes. How many gigabytes are in one terabyte?

{10}^{3}

Writing Exercises

Jennifer thinks the quotient \frac{{a}^{24}}{{a}^{6}} simplifies to {a}^{4}. What is wrong with her reasoning?

Maurice simplifies the quotient \frac{{d}^{7}}{d} by writing \frac{{\overline{)d}}^{7}}{\overline{)d}}=7. What is wrong with his reasoning?

Answers will vary.

When Drake simplified \text{−}{3}^{0} and {\left(-3\right)}^{0} he got the same answer. Explain how using the Order of Operations correctly gives different answers.

Robert thinks {x}^{0} simplifies to 0. What would you say to convince Robert he is wrong?

Answers will vary.

Self Check

After completing the exercises, use this checklist to evaluate your mastery of the objectives of this section.

This is a table that has six rows and four columns. In the first row, which is a header row, the cells read from left to right “I can…,” “Confidently,” “With some help,” and “No-I don’t get it!” The first column below “I can…” reads “simplify expressions using the Quotient Property for Exponents,” “simplify expressions with zero exponents,” “simplify expressions using the Quotient to a Power Property,” “simplify expressions by applying several properties,” and “divide monomials.” The rest of the cells are blank.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your mastery of this section in light of your responses on the checklist? How can you improve this?

License

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Elementary Algebra by OSCRiceUniversity is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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