Difference Between Expanding and Factoring

Mathematics is a crucial topic in basic, graduate, and even post-college training. However, not everyone is a natural mathematician for a myriad of purposes.

The main issue is that individuals don’t know that arithmetic, like any other ability, requires to practice to master.

In mathematics, the words “expanding” as well as “factoring” are frequently employed. However, not everybody can distinguish between the two.

The majority of people might simply state that both words refer to the removal or addition of parenthesis in an algebraic expression.

Expanding vs Factoring

The main difference between expanding and factoring is that the brackets or parenthesis are removed when an algebraic calculation is expanded. The value just outside of the parenthesis is amplified by each of the values within the brackets to eliminate the parenthesis. Factoring out an algebraic expression, on the other hand, entails adding parentheses to the equation. This is done by removing the most frequently used variable from an equation and then separating the remaining values in brackets. 

Expanding vs Factoring

Enlarging anything includes maximizing it and that implies the fundamental meaning of expanding something. In this example, it refers to removing any indication of grouping from an equation.

Brackets, parenthesis, or curly brackets are all signs of clustering. “To convert (anything) from a smaller shape and/or size to a larger one,” is the true definition.

The term factoring on the other hand has two aspects, the mathematical approach as well as the business and commerce approach. Let’s talk about both but briefly, to help you understand the basics without any hurdles whatsoever.

In the commerce and business field, When a firm buys a loan or payment from another business, it is known as factoring, receivables factoring, or borrower financing.

Throughout many markets, factoring is considered a sort of accounts receivable and is quite similar to account receivables, although in a different setting.

Comparison Table Between Expanding and Factoring

Parameters of ComparisonExpandingFactoring
MeaningEnlarging anything includes maximizing it and that implies the fundamental meaning of expanding something, usually an equation.The purpose is to simplify an expression by factoring it into its simplest elements and drawing it out. You must put any common components in brackets and the remainder in square brackets.
EtymologyLate Middle English: from Latin expandere ‘to spread out’, from ex- ‘out’ + pandere ‘to spread’.Late Middle English (meaning ‘doer’, also in the Scots sense ‘agent’): from French facteur or Latin factor.
BracketsTo remove the parentheses and curly brackets.To concise an equation or expression by adding brackets and parentheses.
Example(a+b)^2 if expanded will become a^2 + 2ab + b^2Factoring the number 10 gives us: 1×10 and 2×5.
SynonymsEnlarge, dilate, inflate, detailed, spread, etc.Separate, articulate, detach, dichotomize, etc.

What is Expanding?

Expanding is the process of converting components into uncomplicated, lengthy statements or equations. It minimizes the expressions by multiplying out the components and anything inside the bracket.

You’re removing or not removing parentheses. It is a very simple yet basic and useful method that we are taught in our lower-grade schooling by our maths teacher.

The expanding mechanism simply opens up an expression and converts it into a basic and ‘naked’ equation which is easier to solve.

Simplifications including combining related phrases or canceling terms may be used even during expansion.

Instead of addition and multiplication, expansion stages might include substituting powers of a summation of terms with the corresponding expression generated from the binomial equation; this is a condensed version about what would occur if the power was treated as a repeated multiplier and extended repeatedly.

The notion that multiplication spreads across addition is used to represent an extension of a combination of sums as a summation in maths.

The analogous sum of products may be used to expand a polynomial expression by repeating changing subexpressions that combine two other subexpressions, at minimum one being an addition until the expression has become a total of (repeated) products.

What is Factoring?

Factoring is the complete antithesis of expanding. Its purpose is to simplify an expression by factoring it into its simplest elements and drawing it out.

You must put any common components in brackets and the remainder in square brackets. It’s almost as though you’re attempting to insert parentheses.

Factoring is the process of fathoming out a mathematical equation by adding brackets to it. This is done by removing the most regularly used value from an equation and putting the remaining values in parentheses.

Some literal meanings of this word include; To find all the factors of (a number or other mathematical object) (the objects that divide it evenly with zero remainders).

If expanding an expression implies eliminating parenthesis, then factoring out involves restoring parentheses to the calculation. How may the formula xy + 3x be factored out?

To begin, the shared variable here between two possible values, x, is taken into account. Curly braces are used to encapsulate the rest of the calculation, which is y + 3. x{y+3} is the factored-out form of the calculation xy + 3x.

Fundamentally, the process of factoring an expression is practically easy but mathematically difficult to imply whereas the theoretical method of expanding a number or a variable-based quadratic equation is easier than the factoring procedures.

Main Differences Between Expanding and Factoring

  1. Expanding is a simple mathematical process whereas factoring is a complex method.
  2. Expanding means eliminating the usage of brackets whereas in factoring brackets are inserted and utilized.
  3. Expanding helps in unfolding an equation whereas factoring helps in compactly organize an expression to find out common elements and clustering them into brackets.
  4. Expanding includes the simplification process whereas the factoring method is applied for finding relations and common terms for the ease of representation of a complex equation.
  5. Synonyms of expanding include enlarge, dilate, inflate, detailed, spread whereas synonyms of factoring are separate, articulate, detach, dichotomize.


In any Mathematics topic, one’s comprehension of how a formula works or what a phrase means might be the most important aspect of the entire subject, hence it must be cleared out.

In mathematics, the words “expanding” and “factoring” are frequently employed. However, not everyone can distinguish between the two.

The majority of people would simply state that both words refer to the removal or addition of parenthesis in an analytical solution.

However, they won’t be able to demonstrate how to extend or factor out a specific equation because both the procedures are closely related. In fact, we can consider them polarly opposite.


  1. https://wikidiff.com/factor/expand
  2. https://www.splashlearn.com/math-vocabulary/multiplication/factor
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