Unlike Algebraic Terms

unlike terms


The algebraic terms having different literal coefficients are called unlike algebraic terms or simply unlike terms.

The algebraic terms are actually formed in algebra by the product of combination of numbers and symbols. Two or more algebraic terms have different literal coefficient in some special cases. Hence, they are unlike when they are compared. Therefore, the algebraic terms which have different literal coefficients are known as unlike algebraic terms and also simply called as unlike terms.


$2xy$, $-4x^{\displaystyle 2}y$, $\Bigg(\dfrac{3}{8}\Bigg)xy^{\displaystyle 2}$ and $0.125x^{\displaystyle 2}y^{\displaystyle 2}$ are four algebraic terms.

  1. The first algebraic term is $2xy$ and literal coefficient of this term is $xy$.
  2. The second algebraic term is $-4x^{\displaystyle 2}y$ and the literal coefficient in this term is $x^{\displaystyle 2}y$.
  3. The third algebraic term is $\Bigg(\dfrac{3}{8}\Bigg)xy^{\displaystyle 2}$ and the literal coefficient is $xy^{\displaystyle 2}$ in this term.
  4. The fourth algebraic term is $0.125x^{\displaystyle 2}y^{\displaystyle 2}$ and the literal coefficient is $x^{\displaystyle 2}y^{\displaystyle 2}$ in the term.

Compare literal coefficients of all four algebraic terms but they do match each other. So, they are unlike. Due to this reason, the four algebraic terms are known as unlike algebraic terms.


Look at the following more examples to understand unlike terms much clearly in algebra.

$(1) \,\,\,$ $2a$, $2b$, $2c$

$(2) \,\,\,$ $l^{\displaystyle 2}$, $\dfrac{l}{7}$, $5.5l^{\displaystyle 3}$

$(3) \,\,\,$ $-6m$, $4n$, $5mn$, $8m^{\displaystyle 2}n$

$(4) \,\,\,$ $5p^{\displaystyle 3}q^{\displaystyle 2}r$, $5p^{\displaystyle 3}qr^{\displaystyle 2}$, $5pq^{\displaystyle 3}r^{\displaystyle 2}$

$(5) \,\,\,$ $xy$, $3yz$, $-3zx$, $5xyz$, $3z$

Remember, algebraic terms cannot be like algebraic terms if numeral coefficients of two or more algebraic terms are same in comparison.

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