Exponents and Absolute Value Exponents … the exponent tells how many times to use the base as a factor.  The exponent is attached to the single character (number) directly below the exponent and to the left unless a parenthesis is used and then the exponent affects everything within the parenthesis.  Therefore, is very different from Absolute value  … is the distance of a number from zero.  The evaluation of an absolute value is always positive.   and Understand the difference between the evaluation of an expression like    and . In the first expression, absolute value has to be evaluated first and then the negation on the outside makes the expression negative 9.  In the second expression the evaluation is multiplying a negative 9 {on the inside} times a negative1 {assumed by the  –(   } which results in positive 9. General Algebra Tips The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of Mary Lou Baker. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Columbia State Community College.This page was edited on 09-Jan-2014