# How do you know which variable comes 1st in the answer? Does it matter?

When multiplying a monomial by a polynomial:

2r(3r+7q)

I got the answer: 6r^2+14rq

but the worksheet says the answer is 6r^2+14qr

### 8 Answers

- SumDudeLv 72 months ago
the formal approach is to alphabetize within each term. [I prefer your answer. Easier to see how you obtained it.}

- Anonymous2 months ago
It doesn't matter. Do you not remember the "commutative property of multiplication," which says that q times r equals r times q in all cases?

- lenpol7Lv 72 months ago
Your answer id correct.

However, the mathematical convention is to qrite the letter algebraically.

Since 'q' comes before 'r' in the alphabet you would write '14qr'

NB Terms in higher powers come first .

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- DavidLv 72 months ago
Your answer is correct but the worksheet has only put the variables in alphabetical order.

- MichaelLv 72 months ago
alphabetically q is before r

so by convention it is written as 14qr

But note that 14qr = 14rq

- ElaineLv 72 months ago
In algebra qr = rq The worksheet has listed the variables (letters) in the same order as they appear in the English alphabet

Think of Arithmetic: 2 X 3 = 3 X 2

- Anonymous2 months ago
Order does not matter, operationally speaking. By means of the commutative axiom, order remains same for multiplication in this way:

a * b = b * a = ab = ba, equals same quantity.

However, arrangement is used for clarity. 2r distributed to 7q is better expressed as 14qr since it is (2r * 7q), hence the q was with 7 before the r.