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Lesson 5.1: Basic Exponents


superscript indicator

baseline indicator


In print, numerals, variables, or entire expressions may be positioned at different levels. They may be slightly above or below the rest of the numerals or variables in a mathematical expression. These characters may appear in a smaller font size, or may be in the same font as the expression on the baseline of print. When characters are raised slightly above the other characters on a line, they are said to be superscripted to the other characters. Exponents are an example of this. When characters are below the baseline, they are subscripted. When the term, base, is used mathematically, it usually refers to a subscripted character. Superscripts and subscripts appear to the right or left, that is, preceding or following the characters on the baseline, not directly over or under them. In braille, a change in level is usually represented by braille indicators which have no print equivalents.

The braille indicator needed for exponents is the superscript indicator dots four five. To indicate that numerals, letters, or expressions are raised, place the superscript indicator before the portion which appears above the baseline. When the superscript follows the symbol on the baseline, it is unspaced from the symbol associated with it. There is no space between the symbol on the baseline and the superscript indicator.

The influence of the superscript indicator, dots four five, affects every character following it. Its influence is ended when there is a space, the baseline indicator, dot five, is used, when another level indicator is used, when punctuation is used on the baseline, when there is a new braille line that is followed by a new braille expression or literary text, or when a punctuation indicator or comma is used.

Example 1

five to the second power or five squared

Example 2

five to the two plus two power

Example 3

five to the x power

Example 4

x to the fifth power

Example 5

two to the third power equals eight

Example 6

open parentheses ten times six to the third power close parentheses

Example 7

two to the third power times three to the fourth power

Example 8

What is the value of three to the seventh power?

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