What constitutes a rational expression? How would you explain this concept to someone unfamiliar with it?

A rational expression is simply a fraction whose numerator and/or denominator are polynomials. Its name is derived from being the ratio of two polynomials.

A polynomial is an expression made up of variables and constants, but only the operations of multiplication, addition and subtraction can be used, as well as non-negative integer exponents. In polynomials, division of constants is allowed, but no division by a variable.

An example of a rational expression would be: (x2 +4)/(x+1). When simplifying rational expressions, you should first factor both the numerator and denominator to see if there are any like expressions that will cancel out.

Updated on Wednesday, July 11 2012 at 08:09PM EDT

Related Questions