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### In mathematics, factoring is the process of breaking down a mathematical expression, typically a polynomial, into its constituent parts, which are called factors

In mathematics, factoring is the process of breaking down a mathematical expression, typically a polynomial, into its constituent parts, which are called factors. Factors are the numbers or expressions that can be multiplied together to form the original expression.

When factoring a polynomial, the goal is to find its factors that are either numbers or simpler polynomials. This process can be useful in simplifying expressions, solving equations, and understanding the structure of the polynomial.

There are different methods to factor polynomials, depending on their degree (the highest power of the variable). Some common techniques include:

1. Factoring out the greatest common factor (GCF): This involves identifying the largest factor that can be divided from each term of the polynomial. For example, in the expression 6x^2 + 9x, the GCF is 3x, so factoring out 3x yields 3x(2x + 3).

2. Factoring by grouping: This method is used for polynomials with four or more terms. It involves grouping terms, factoring out common factors from each group, and then factoring out any common factors that remain. For example, in the expression 2x^3 + 4x^2 + 3x + 6, we can group the terms as (2x^3 + 4x^2) + (3x + 6), and factor out common factors: 2x^2(x + 2) + 3(x + 2). Then, we can factor out the common factor (x + 2) to obtain (x + 2)(2x^2 + 3).

3. Factoring by using special product formulas: Some polynomials can be factored using special formulas, such as the difference of squares or the perfect square trinomial. For example, the polynomial x^2 – 4 can be factored as (x – 2)(x + 2), using the difference of squares formula.

4. Factoring quadratic trinomials: Quadratic trinomials are polynomials of the form ax^2 + bx + c, where a, b, and c are constants. These can be factored using methods like trial and error, factoring by grouping, or by applying the quadratic formula.

Factoring can be a valuable tool in algebra, as it helps simplify expressions, solve equations, identify patterns in polynomials, and even find the roots (or zeros) of a polynomial function.

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