# 12.6: Subtracting Polynomials

**Basic**Created by: CK-12

**Practice**Subtraction of Polynomials

Have you ever thought about the area of a pool? Take a look at this dilemma.

A concrete walkway surrounds a rectangular swimming pool. In order to know how much weather treatment to buy, the owner must know how many square units of concrete he has. The walkway is 5 feet wide on all sides. The swimming pool has a length of and a width of 14 feet. How many square units concrete does he have?

In order to find the area of the concrete, we must find the area of the large rectangle and then subtract the area of the swimming pool.

**
Do you know how to do this? To accomplish this task, you will need to understand how to subtract polynomials. You will learn how to do this in this Concept.
**

### Guidance

**
A
**
**
polynomial
**

**is an algebraic expression that shows the sum of**

*monomials***.**

Since the prefix
*
mono
*
means one, a monomial is a single piece or
*
term
*
. The prefix
*
poly
*
means many. So the word
*
polynomial
*
refers to one or more than one term in an expression. The relationship between these terms may be sums or difference.

**
Polynomials
**
:

**
We call an expression with a single term a
**
**
monomial
**

**, an expression with two terms is a**

*binomial***, and an expression with three terms is a**

*trinomial***. An expression with more than three terms is named simply by its number of terms—“five-term polynomial.”**

Just like we could add polynomials, we can subtract them too. We can perform this operation both vertically and horizontally. Let’s start with vertically.

When we subtract polynomials, we can use a similar procedure as with addition—we can subtract vertically. However, remember that subtraction is the same as “adding the opposite.” In other words, is the same as . We can add the opposite of 8 instead of subtracting 8. We will use the same idea with polynomials.

**
Remember that subtracting is the same as adding the opposite. Write this down in your notebook.
**

Take a look at this one.

**
Set up the problem vertically by aligning the like terms.
**

**
When you add the opposite, the sign changes on each of the terms in the subtracted polynomial. Inside the parentheses, the coefficient of
is positive. But when you add the opposite, the sign changes to negative, or
. We also changed the sign on the
to
and the -4 to 4.
**

Now we can look at subtracting polynomials horizontally.

When we added polynomials, we used two methods—adding vertically and adding horizontally. You just learned to subtract polynomials vertically. As you have guessed, we can also subtract polynomials horizontally. First we will review the distributive property.

The distributive property: For all real numbers and .

**
Remember to be careful with negative signs when using distributive property.
**

Now, let us remember that
*
coefficients
*
are the numerical factors of variables. The coefficient of
is 3. The coefficient of
is 9. When we see the term
, the coefficient is -1. Although you could write
, we normally do not because the 1 is considered unnecessary. How does this relate to the distributive property? The negative sign could be in front of the parentheses, like this:
. This is similar to
where the coefficient is the unwritten -1. Just like you could write
, you could also write
. The distributive property is now more apparent in that each term will now be multiplied by -1.

Take a look at this one.

Then take a look at this one.

Here you can insert the -1 and then multiply. As with adding the opposite, the sign changes on each of the terms in the polynomial.

**
We can now use this method to subtract polynomials horizontally. First we’ll distribute the negative sign to each of the terms in the subtracted polynomial and then we will combine like terms just as we did when we added polynomials.
**

Here is another one.

**
It may seem that way, but if you go step by step and remember that subtracting is adding the opposite, then you will be able to subtract polynomials vertically and horizontally.
**

Subtract the following polynomials.

#### Example A

**
Solution:
**

#### Example B

**
Solution:
**

#### Example C

**
Solution:
**

Now let's go back to the dilemma from the beginning of the Concept.

The length of the large rectangle measures . Its width measures .

So its area will be

**
The area of the swimming pool will be its length times its width or
.
**

**
Area of the swimming pool is
.
**

**
To find the area of the concrete, subtract the area of the swimming pool from the total area:
**

**
This is the answer.
**

### Guided Practice

Here is one for you to try on your own.

**
Solution
**

**
This is the answer.
**

### Video Review

### Explore More

Subtract the following polynomials vertically.

Subtract the following polynomials horizontally.

### Image Attributions

## Description

## Learning Objectives

Here you'll subtract polynomials vertically and horizontally.