What's the way to write or to read power (math) it in words?

Does "powered by" is correct?

For example: "2 powered by 5 divided by 2 powered by 3." works?

Also "What 4 powered by 3 does equal to?" is correct?

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  • FWIW, the operation is normally (AFAIK) called "exponentiation". Jun 24, 2019 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


It is usual to say

"2 raised to the power 5"

or more concisely

"2 to the power 5"

"2 to the power of 5" is also acceptable, but not "2 powered by 5".

Amongst mathematicians "2 to the 5" is shorthand, "power of" being understood.
So you should say

"2 to the power 5 divided by 2 to the power 3"


"What is 4 to the power 3 equal to?"

  • 4
    it may be worth pointing out whether "two to the 5" is spoken as "two to the five" or "two to the fifth". some languages, german is an example, do use the ordinal instead of the cardinal here.
    – dlatikay
    Jun 23, 2019 at 23:54
  • 2
    It might also be worth pointing out that "squared" and "cubed" are commonly used for exponents of 2 and 3 respectively.
    – BenM
    Jun 24, 2019 at 0:52
  • @dlatikay Maybe in German, but English mathematicians would interpret two to the fifth as 2 raised to the power one fifth (1/5) which is the fifth root of 2. something completely different. Jun 24, 2019 at 1:29
  • @PeterJennings However, it's pretty common (at least in AmE) to use xto the nth power' instead of 'x raised to the power of n'. Jun 24, 2019 at 2:05
  • 2
    I'll disagree with Peter Jennings on this- $2^{5}$ would commonly be read in English as "two to the fifth" or "two to the fifth power." You would read $2^{(1/5}}$ as "two to the one fifth" Jun 24, 2019 at 4:03

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