What is the Distributive Property?
The distributive property (aka distributive law) is a property of real numbers which says that the product of a number say a and the sum (or difference) of two numbers say b and c, is equal to the sum (or difference) of the product of a and b and a and c. In symbol, we have:
I’m sure you have used this property to work with numbers. A typical question that involves the distributive property would be: Find the product of x and (x-7). Using the distributive property, you will get . This means that if x = 10, one way to calculate the product of 10 and (10-7) is 10×3 or 10×10-70. Both of these will give you 30. This property is true for all real numbers.
Here’s a more interesting problem where you can apply the distributive property of real numbers.
Warning: You do not need your calculator for this.
I’m not going to give the solution for each. Instead I’ll use a general form. I say general because it has the same structure as the three problems. The x represents any real numbers.
This in fact works for n number of terms. You can try proving the statement below to show that it is true for n terms in any x.