Loading...

It's easy to see that funky radical symbol and panic just a little bit. There are so many rules that go along with it, it's hard to keep up with them all. This lesson will help by describing what you should do when you are faced with a square root.

What would happen if you were driving down the road and all of a sudden everyone decided to disregard the road signs? No one was stopping at red lights, worrying about which side of the road they were driving on or even stopping for pedestrians. It would be chaos. There is a reason those signs are there.

What if you drove to the next town to find that their road signs were different from the ones you were used to? They stopped on green lights and, instead of a yield triangle, there was a purple circle. There are rules of the road, but you have no idea what they are or how to follow them. That is why there is a standardized accepted type of road sign for each circumstance.

Mathematics is the same way. There are standardized signs that tell people what to do, and they are the same everywhere. There is no confusion - when you see 8/2, you know to divide, and when you see 3+9, you know that you are supposed to add.

The symbol that we are concerned with in this lesson is the radical symbol, or square root. This symbol looks like this:

and it tells you to find a number that when multiplied to itself equals the number under the radical symbol. That number under the radical symbol is called the radicand.

As you are traveling along the road of mathematics, the radical road sign wants you to take the square root of the term that is inside the symbol, or the radicand. The square root function is the inverse or opposite of the squared function. When you are asked to square a number, you need to take that number and multiply it by itself.

For example:

The same rules apply to numbers and variables.

In any expression with a radical symbol, the term under the square root is the radicand - even if the expression is large, like this:

In this example, 23x^2y^5z is the radicand.

## Real Number Radical ExpressionsWhen studying radicals, we need to make sure we're working with real numbers. A real number is any number that is not imaginary. Truthfully, that is the definition. The term 'real number' was not coined until imaginary numbers were discovered and a term was needed to describe all other numbers. Real numbers include: - Whole Numbers - 0, 1, 2, 3...
- Rational Numbers - examples include 3/4, 0.125, 0.333
- Irrational Numbers - such as pi and the square root of 3
Real numbers do not include the square root of negative 1, infinity and a few other things that mathematicians use in very high-level mathematics. Do the following terms represent real numbers? - 64
- 5
- 1.7
- 3.26
- -4
- -7.8
All of these examples look like real numbers as is, but something happens when you try to take the square root of a negative number. It does not compute. That is because the square root of negative 1 is imaginary. So it stands to reason that the square root of any negative number is undefined. This is because any negative number can be factored to its positive counterpart and negative one, like this: -4 = (4)*(-1) -7.8 = (7.8)*(-1) …because the square root of any negative number can be broken down to the square root of a positive number times the square root of negative 1. And that negative 1 makes any negative radical expression imaginary. Next Topic |

What is SAT?
SAT - Structure, Patterns and Scoring
How to Identify Wrong use of Word?
SAT: Identifying Errors in Sentence Structure
SAT Writing and Language Test Words in Context
The SAT Essay
What Is Brainstorming?
SAT - The Five-Paragraph Essay
Sentence Clarity How to Write Clear Sentences
How to Write Well What Makes Writing Good?
How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence
Supporting Details Definition and Examples
How to Proofread an Essay for Spelling and Grammar
SAT Reading Section Structure, Patterns and Scoring
Identifying and Correcting Clause Errors
SAT Reading Passages Types
Analyzing a Literary Passage
Author Purpose: Definition and Examples
The Great Global Conversation Reading Passages on the SAT
Structure of the SAT Math Section Structure, Patterns and Scoring
Radicands and Radical Expressions
Five Main Exponent Properties
What is a Linear Equation
How to Solve a Rational Equation
What is an Inequality?
What is a Function: Basics and Key Terms
How to Solve Quadratics That Are Not in Standard Form
Ratios and Proportions: Definition and Examples
Density: Definition, Formula
Parallel, Perpendicular and Transverse Lines
Properties of Shapes: Triangles
Understanding Bar Graphs and Pie Charts

- Parallel, Perpendicular and Transverse Lines
- When Should I Start Studying for the NTS GAT?
- How to Evaluate Reasoning
- NTS GAT - C
- How to Practice for the NTS GAT
- Directions
- Using Rhetorical Skills to Write Better Essays
- Overview of the GRE Analytical Writing Measure
- Analyze a Literary Passage
- What is an Absolute Value?
- What Are Literary Motifs?
- Clocks
- SAT Reading Section Structure, Patterns and Scoring
- Ordering of Words
- Multiplying Binomials Using FOIL and the Area

All in this Category