Math
posted by Joe on .
I am pretty much clueless with this but would like some help the question i have been given is........How many terms are in the expansion of (a+b+c)^5 after like terms have been combined? Please help me all the way through it if you can. Thankyou

The number of terms in a multinomial expansion of m terms raised to the nth power is equal to C(n+m1,n).
In the present case,
n=5, m=3, so
C(n+m1,n)=C(5+31,5)=C(7,5)=7*6/(2*1)=21
In the same vein, you may be interested to know that the individual coefficients for the terms
a^p*b^q*c^r (where p+q+r=n)
is
C(n,p,q,r)
=n!/(p!q!r!)
For example, the term a²b²c
has p=2,q=2,r=1
so the coefficient is
C(5,2,2,1)
=5!/(2!2!1!)
For more interesting facts, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multinomial_theorem