A symbol √ used to indicate that a root is being taken - such as a square root.
See definition of root.

## The bar length matters

The horizontal bar in the radical symbol tells how much of the expression is to be used.
In this expression: the bar stretches across the whole expression "p - q". So this means we subtract q from p, then find the square root of the result.

If it has only covered the 'p' like this: it would mean find the square root of p then subtract q from the result.

The bar acts like parentheses, telling you how to group items and the order of calculation.

The radical sign is a symbol that means "root of". The length of the horizontal bar is important. See note below. When used in an expression like the one above, the whole expression is called a radical.

## Used in a radical expression

The three components of a radical expression are

 Degree The number of times the radicand is multiplied by itself. 2 means square root, 3 means cube root. After that they are called the 4th root, 5th root and so on. If this is missing, it is assumed to be 2 - the square root. Radical symbol The √ symbol that means "root of". The length of the horizontal bar is important. See note below. Radicand The thing you are finding the root of.

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