I want to simplify with Mathematica 11 the following algebraic expression under the assumptions $x<0$ and $y>0$:

A= (-x + Sqrt[x^2 + y])/Sqrt[2 x^2 + y - 2 x Sqrt[x^2 + y]]

A short calculation yields A = 1. But Mathematica seems not able to obtain that result when the following expression is evaluated:


Is it possible to help Mathematica to solve this?

Thanks for your answer.

  • $\begingroup$ What is that "short calculation " that yields A = 1? $\endgroup$
    – rhermans
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can complete the square in the denominator, explicitly: 2x^2 + y - 2 x Sqrt[x^2+y] = (-x + Sqrt[x^2 + y])^2 $\endgroup$
    – Flo
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Strange indeed. Simplify[A == 1, ...] and Simplify[A^2, ...] both work. You could use the latter to figure out that the result must be either 1 or -1, and the former to show that it is always 1. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ Even this works: Reduce[A == z, {x, y}, Reals]. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for looking into it. My problem is that A is part of a much bigger expression and I rely on FullSimplify to correctly simplify it. And I want to avoid using replacement rules, which wouldn't be elegant. $\endgroup$
    – Flo
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


One possibility is to add Reduce to the list of TransformationFunction rules. For example:

oneReduce[x_] := If[TrueQ @ !Reduce[{x != 1, $Assumptions}], 1, x]

If Reduce can determine that x != 1 is definitely False based on $Assumptions, then it transforms x to 1. Let's see this in action:

Assuming[x<0 && y>0, Simplify[A, TransformationFunctions->{Automatic, oneReduce}]]


Another useful transformation function is:

zeroReduce[x_] := If[TrueQ @ !Reduce[{x != 0, $Assumptions}], 0, x]

Perhaps this approach will work with more complicated expressions.

  • $\begingroup$ That's definitely an elegant and useful solution. In my case computationally too expensive though. $\endgroup$
    – Flo
    Sep 22, 2017 at 15:04

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