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I entered in a simple-looking quadratic equation, expecting WA to factorize it for me, but then it gives me all this other stuff without the actual factors. The result is exactly the same as my input. I put in many other equations and it factored it perfectly for me; but for this one it decides not to. Can somebody give me the actual answer and let me know why my answer came out as it did?

Wolfram Alpha image

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Probably because you told it to factor an equation, not a polynomial. Try instead wolframalpha.com/input/?i=factor+5x%5E2+-+4x+-+4 –  Neal Apr 6 '12 at 18:42
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You factor polynomials which Alpha will do. You solve equations, which Alpha will also do

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Remove the "=0" part, and just type (without quotes), "factor 5*x^2-4*x-4"

As well, I want to politely point out that it may be well worth your time to review the quadratic formula.

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Not really a mathematical question.... but try http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=factorize+5x^2-4x-4

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