# Using Exponents in Algebra

You might like to read the page on Exponents first.

## Whole Number Exponents

The exponent "n" in a |

Example: **5 ^{3} = 5 × 5 × 5 = 125**

- The "3" says to use 5 three times in a multiplication
- In words: 5
^{3}could be called "5 to the third power", "5 to the power 3" or simply "5 cubed"

## Negative Exponents

A negative exponent a |

Example: **5 ^{-3} = **

**1/5**

^{3}= 1/125 = 0.008

Also ... by just changing the signs of the exponents we get:

A positive exponent a |

So, we can move an expression between the top and bottom (numerator and denominator) of a fraction by simply changing the sign of the exponent.

Example: **x ^{-1} = **

**1/x**(a simple reciprocal)

Example: **5 ^{-3} = **

**1/5**

^{3}= 1/125 = 0.008