Posted by **tom** on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:23pm.

help me combine like terms. like how do you do it with different signs in the problem.

17 + 4w - 12 - w

- Math -
**JJ**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:24pm
17 -12 is a subtraction problem

4w -w is a subtraction problem.

- Math -
**tom**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:30pm
so lets say i had 4w-8-1w

i take 4w+1w= 5w

then i have -8 left and i do

5w-8

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**Ms. Sue**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:38pm
4w-8-1w

Why did you change the problem from -1w to + 1w?

4w - 1w = 3w

4w-8-1w = 3w - 8

- Math -
**tom**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:48pm
it was not negative that was a subtraction sign

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**Ms. Sue**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:57pm
Then why didn't you subtract 1w from 4w?

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**JJ**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:55pm
Negative signs and subtraction signs are really the same thing.

You can write -8 - 6

negative 8 subtract 6

which is the same thing as writing

-8 + -6

negative eight plus negative 6.

In both cases, you get a -14 as the answer.

- Math -
**Ken**, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 10:51pm
17+4w-12-w

=17-12+4w-w

=5+3w

...and yes "plus a negative" is exactly the same as minus.

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