What Is a Special Case In Math?

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Special cases in math happen throughout Algebra, Calculus and other subjects. Learn about a special case in math with help from a longtime mathematics educator in this free video clip.

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Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang, and we're here to talk about what is a special case in math. Now special cases in math they happen all the time throughout you know the Algebra, Arithmetic, Calculus, etc. and special cases can either present illustrations to a rule or shortcuts that might make applying something a little simpler but it really depends on what the context is and what the scenario is. So a special case for example in Algebra would be special cases in factoring. So if you have like the difference of two squares you might be presented with this little fact, A squared minus B squared so if you have two terms that are squared, subtracted by each other, they can be factored as A plus B, A minus B. Again often times special cases can help make solving a problem really really easy so if you have something like X squared minus 9 using the special case, X is squared but 9 is considered 3 squared. This special case tells you that this can be factored very easily as X plus 3, X minus 3. Now, if you have another example using this idea if you have 16Y squared minus 25 for example. Now Y is a square, Y squared is a square but 16 is considered 4 squared and 25 is considered 5 squared, this can be thought of as 4Y plus 5 times 4Y minus 5. So again there are many many different special cases out there but again they're designed to present exceptions to a rule or a theorem or give you an easier time to solve some problems. So I'm Jimmy Chang, and that's what is a special case in math.

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