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FOIL Method

A technique for distributing two binomials. The letters FOIL stand for First, Outer, Inner, Last. First means multiply the terms which occur first in each binomial. Then Outer means multiply the outermost terms in the product. Inner means multiply the innermost two terms. Last means multiply the terms which occur last in each binomial. Then simplify the products and combine any like terms which may occur.

 

Example: (x + 2)(x + 5) = x·x + x·5 + 2·x + 2·5
                         First Outer Inner  Last

                        = x2 + 7x + 10

 

 

See also

Distributing rules, binomial theorem

 


  this page updated 27-aug-12
Mathwords: Terms and Formulas from Algebra I to Calculus
written, illustrated, and webmastered by Bruce Simmons
NCTM Web Bytes December 2004 Web Bytes March 2005 Web Bytes