
From working with the rules of exponents (when x is not 0), we know that:

can be interpreted
as 

which
illustrates


When the value of a is smaller than the value of b, we arrive at the rule for a negative exponent.

can be interpreted
as 

which
illustrates 

Remember, an expression with a negative power is moved to the oppostite side of the fraction bar as a positive power.
Should the values of a and b be the same, we have the rule for a zero exponent.

can be interpreted
as 

which
illustrates


NOTE: The reposting of materials (in part or whole) from this site to the Internet
is copyright violation
and is not considered "fair use" for educators. Please read the "Terms of Use". 
