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# Algebra/A factoring question

Question
Hello,

There is a tiny part of my math lesson that I am not quite getting. Here is the example problem:

Factor: 1/2x + 3/2y - 1/2

I am getting a grasp on how to factor in general, but the fractions in this case are throwing me off. I have no idea how they got whole numbers in the parentheses. Shouldn't the answer have fractions in there? How do I factor out when what I must factor by is a fraction?

Tressa

Hello Tressa,

Consider this problem:  2x+6y-2=2(x+3y-1), yes?

Now look at: (1/2)x+(3/2)y-1/2=(1/2)x+(1/2)*3y-(1/2)*1,
now factor the common factor of 1/2 (just like in the above problem we factored out the 2)...
This gives: (1/2)(x+3y-1)

Makes sense now?

TTYL, Abe

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Algebra

Volunteer

#### Abe Mantell

##### Expertise

Hello, I am a college professor of mathematics and regularly teach all levels from elementary mathematics through differential equations, and would be happy to assist anyone with such questions!

##### Experience

Over 15 years teaching at the college level.

Organizations
NCTM, NYSMATYC, AMATYC, MAA, NYSUT, AFT.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S. (and A.B.D.) in Applied Mathematics from SUNY @ Stony Brook