# Simplifying expression with patterns (Replace)

Q1:

I need to simplify some algebraic expression, according to particular pattern, namely:

\begin{equation*} x^m = \left\{ \begin{array}{ll} 1 & \text{if } m \text{ is even} \\ x & \text{if } m \text{ is odd} \end{array}\right. \end{equation*}

for example:

$$a x^3 + b x y-c x^7 y^2$$ should be simplified to $$ax + bxy - cxy^2$$ I need something like:

a x^3 + b x y - c x^7 y^2 /.{x^_ -> ... }


but, that will recognize the parity of the each power in the expression.

Q2:

How one can get only one term in the sum? For example, in the example there are three terms

$$a x^3, \ b x y, \ -c x^7 y^2$$

is there any possibility to decompose the full expression to

A = {a x^3, b x y, - c x^7 y^2}


expr = a x^3 + b x y - c x^7 y^2;

expr /. {x_^m_ /; EvenQ[m] :> 1, x_^m_ /; OddQ[m] :> x}

a x - c x + b x y

List @@ expr

{a x^3, b x y, -c x^7 y^2}


Be warned that Replace etc. can be fragile for mathematical manipulation.

As Pinguin Dirk noted I think you wanted matching for literal x; in that case you could use x in place of each x_ pattern in my replacement rules:

expr /. {x^m_ /; EvenQ[m] :> 1, x^m_ /; OddQ[m] :> x}

a x + b x y - c x y^2


Also, I used a longer form with Condition rather PatternTest, because I think the former is often easier to use for mathematical conditions. See this for more:

• I understand the difference between "x" and "x_", but the last option also applies to ALL powers in the expression. How I can restrict to only particular monomials? (I do multi-dim Taylor expansion and should pick only particular variables from the expansion). Oct 16 '13 at 12:39
• I added my variation to the comments below Pinguin Dirk's answer. Also, thanks for the Accept. Oct 16 '13 at 13:08

Yet another way, replacing only if m is an integer:

expr /. {x^m_Integer :> x^Mod[m, 2]}


a x + b x y - c x y^2

Note I am assuming that x is taken literally (we only match for x)

As for the question in the comments, a possible way would be to condition on the pattern, as Mr. Wizard does (in a similar way):

expr /. {patt_^m_Integer :> patt^Mod[m, 2] /; MemberQ[{x1, x2}, patt]}


where {x1,x2} are the bases you want to modify (I am using patt instead of x as the name of the pattern, to avoid confusion)

or also, as Mr. Wizard points out in the comments:

expr /. (x : x1 | x2 | x3)^m_Integer :> x^Mod[m, 2]

• +1 for noting my oversight. You could add m_Integer to make this more robust. Oct 16 '13 at 11:26
• @Mr.Wizard: thanks - and edited! Oct 16 '13 at 11:28
• Thanks! And if there are more than one variable "x" (assume x1, x2, x3, and so on)? Needed something like: expr /. {x*^m_Integer :> x*^Mod[m, 2]}, where "" (star) is a linux-type expression for all possible values. (x -> x1, x2, x3....) just to avoid writing: /. {x1^m_Integer :> x1^Mod[m, 2],x2^m_Integer :> x2^Mod[m, 2], .... } Oct 16 '13 at 12:29
• I tried with "x_", but it replace ALL variables with powers and I want only particular variables (x1,x2,x3..). Oct 16 '13 at 12:40
• @AndrewKor: see the edit Oct 16 '13 at 12:47

A little bit more compact answer to Q1

expr /. {_^_?EvenQ :> 1, x_^_?OddQ :> x}

a x - c x + b x y

• +1 for brevity :-) I chose Condition as I think it is a bit more general for mathematical conditions. Oct 16 '13 at 11:09
• looking at the example, I guess he wants the pattern to match for x only, not for x_ (i.e. x, y,...), or am I mistaken? (I am not quite sure) Oct 16 '13 at 11:22
• You can make this shorter: expr /. {_^_?EvenQ :> 1, x_^_?OddQ :> x} or by Pinguin Dirk's reading: expr /. {x^_?EvenQ -> 1, x^_?OddQ -> x} Oct 16 '13 at 11:32