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# The Difference between a Monomial and a Polynomial

by Deborah
(Hardin, KY)

Why is -2 a polynomial and -5 is a monomial? I do not understand the rationale behind this and my textbook is not clear. Also how can 0 be both?

Karin from Algebra Class Says:

Before we talk about Polynomials, I want you to think of Bread!

Bread is a very general term and there are a lot of different types of bread.

Rye
Wheat
White

We could call Rye bread just bread or we could be more specific and classify is as Rye.

This is exactly how Polynomials work:

Polynomial is the general term, but some polynomials can be classified in a more specific way.

A polynomial is any sum (or difference) of terms. A term is separated by a plus or minus sign (that's why the word sum is used).

Some polynomials can be classified more specifically as monomials, binomials, or trinomials.

Polynomials

Monomial (one term) - Examples: 4, 3x, 6xy, (notice there are no plus or minus signs.)

Binomial (two terms) - Examples: 3x + 2y (notice there is one plus sign)

Trinomial (three terms) - Examples: 3x+2y-4 (notice there are two plus/minus signs)

Anything with more terms than three is just classified as polynomial.

But monomials, binomials, and trinomials are also polynomials because Polynomial is the "bread" or general term.

So, to answer your question, -2, -5, and 0 are all polynomials (generally) but they can be classified further as monomials because they only have 1 term.

Hope this helps in your understanding.

Karin

### Comments for The Difference between a Monomial and a Polynomial

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 Nov 05, 2013 :-)) NEW by: Tamone Brown It was Helpful. Put more up.

 Mar 10, 2013 G by: alia thanks karin

 Feb 13, 2013 Your information contradicts itself. by: Anonymous Mono means one. Poly means many. The fact of a polynomial being defined as a monomial is a contradiction. AGHHHHHH!

 Oct 13, 2011 Thank You So Much by: Earl Buscato this is really work.it helps,to answer my problem especially in math..........and i joy it....so i'm so thankful.... thank you...!

 Aug 05, 2011 monomial is not a polynomial by: cupid a monomial is an algebraic expression of one term a polynomial is an algebraic expression of more than one term, a binomial and trinomial is an example of polynomials. both monomial and polynomial are algebraic expression of positive exponent. terms in algebraic expression are separated by a plus or minus sign

 Nov 19, 2010 :D by: Tyliyah This Really Hepled Me On My Homework!And i will keep this site in mind now , Thank youu soo much.

 Nov 05, 2010 Amazing! by: Natasha this post helped me so much! i was searching for this question for hours, when finally i came to this site- it helped me so much by breaking it down and using simple words!thx!

 Jun 07, 2010 Thank You by: Anonymous Thank you for helping me understand this topic. IT was quite helpful.

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