How would I simplify the expression 3 over "a" to the -4 power?It looks kind of looks like this: 3/a -3    (-3 is the exponet)

Expert Answers
kborgeson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you have the situation of 3/a all raised to the negative 4, you need to apply the –4 exponent to both the 3 and the “a”.

Applying the exponent will make both the numerator and denominator raised by -4.

After applying the negative exponent you need to remember that the mathematical rule is that you may NOT have a negative exponent.

So you simply get rid of the negative exponent by moving each value to the opposite side of your fraction bar.

This step will cause your expression to have the "a" raised to the 4th power on top in the numerator spot and  3 raised to the 4th power on the bottom of the fraction bar in the denominator spot.

So your final answer is going to be a to the 4th power on top and 81 on the bottom.

Since the negative exponents are eliminated then you are free to finish your problem by simplifying your answer completely.



So your final answer looks like this:

Hope this helps.  The most helpful thing to remember when working with these is to get rid of that negative sign in your exponent by moving to the opposite side of the fraction bar.  J

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