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Math Help - Simplifying to get the correct answer

  1. #1
    Senior Member Paze's Avatar
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    Simplifying to get the correct answer

    Hi MHF.

    I have noticed that sometimes, you run into problems where you will get a wrong answer unless you simplify.

    For example:

    \frac{3x-3}{x^2-1}=0

    If I simply multiply both sides by x^2-1, I get 3x-3=0 or 3x=3 or x=1.

    However, the true answer is that there are no roots.

    That can be obtained by simplifying:

    \frac{3(x-1)}{(x-1)(x+1)}=\frac{3}{x+1}=false

    How come this is so important? How does it change the whole ordeal to simplify without changing the content?
    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Re: Simplifying to get the correct answer

    Well, plug in x=1 into your first equation. You'll get \frac{0}{0}. You can't divide by 0, which means that the function never equals 0. Simplifying it makes it easier to see.

    I recommend that whenever you find a solution, plug it into an equation to verify.
    Thanks from Paze
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