# How to Convert Square Roots to Exponents

Finding square roots and converting them to exponents is a relatively common operation in algebra. Square roots, which use the radical symbol, are nonbinary operations — operations which involve just one number — that ask you, “What number times itself gives you this number under the radical?” To convert the square root to an exponent, you use a fraction in the power to indicate that this stands for a root or a radical.

When you find square roots, the symbol for that operation is a radical, which looks like this:

When changing from radical form to fractional exponents, remember these basic forms:

The

*n*th root of*a*can be written as a fractional exponent with*a*raised to the reciprocal of that power.When the

*n*th root ofis taken, it’s raised to the 1/

*n*power. When a power is raised to another power, you multiply the powers together, and so the*m*(otherwise written as*m*/1) and the 1/*n*are multiplied together.

Use fractions in the powers to indicate that the expression stands for a root or a radical.

Here are some examples of changing radical forms to fractional exponents:

When raising a power to a power, you multiply the exponents, but the bases have to be the same.

Because raising a power to a power means that you multiply exponents (as long as the bases are the same), you can simplify the following expressions:

Leave the exponent as 9/4. Don’t write it as a mixed number.

The following example can’t be combined because the bases are not the same: