Simon's Favorite Factoring Trick

Revision as of 11:42, 28 August 2008 by Kent merryfield (talk | contribs) (Added sentence about "completing the rectangle.")
This is an AoPSWiki Word of the Week for August 22-August 28

Simon's Favorite Factoring Trick (abbreviated SFFT) is a special factorization first popularized by AoPS user Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo. <url>viewtopic.php?highlight=factoring&t=8215 This</url> appears to be the thread where Simon's favorite factoring trick was first introduced. The general statement of SFFT is: ${xy}+{xk}+{yj}+{jk}=(x+j)(y+k)$. Two special common cases are: $xy + x + y + 1 = (x+1)(y+1)$ and $xy - x - y +1 = (x-1)(y-1)$.

The act of adding ${jk}$ to ${xy}+{xk}+{yj}$ in order to be able to factor it could be called "completing the rectangle" in analogy to the more familiar "completing the square."


This factorization frequently shows up on contest problems, especially those heavy on algebraic manipulation. Usually $x$ and $y$ are variables and $j,k$ are known constants. Also, it is typically necessary to add the $jk$ term to both sides to perform the factorization.



  • Two different prime numbers between $4$ and $18$ are chosen. When their sum is subtracted from their product, which of the following numbers could be obtained?

$\mathrm{(A) \ 21 } \qquad \mathrm{(B) \ 60 } \qquad \mathrm{(C) \ 119 } \qquad \mathrm{(D) \ 180 } \qquad \mathrm{(E) \ 231 }$



  • $m, n$ are integers such that $m^2 + 3m^2n^2 = 30n^2 + 517$. Find $3m^2n^2$.



This problem has not been edited in. If you know this problem, please help us out by adding it.

See Also

Invalid username
Login to AoPS