# Re: simplifying question

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Posted by T.Gracken on October 01, 2002 at 10:33:20:

In Reply to: simplifying question posted by Lisa on September 30, 2002 at 21:44:52:

: What is the difference between simplifying and solving.
: I have one question which is left as 1/(8^5)
: and another one which goes from 1/(2^2) t 1/4. So how do you know what to do.

Simplifying means to perform as many operations (as per order of operations or theorems) on an expression. [an expression is one or more symbols that represent a number]

Solving means to determine values (which when substituted in place of variables) that create a true statement.

A statement is an equation or inequality (something that is either true or false).
An expression is just a number.

Many students (and teachers) can't tell the difference. Here's a quick way:

If you do not have a comparison symbol separating expressions (that is; you don't have an = , < , > separating two "things"), then you have an expression. If you do have one of the previous symbols between "stuff", then you have a statement.

As far as what to do... it should be stated in the directions of the problem.

Sometimes authors like to use the word "evaluate" in place of simplify.

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