The rules of multiplication extend beyond multiplying 2 whole numbers. Here are some of the others.
Step 1: Multiply fractions Handle fractions by multiplying the numerators and denominators. Place the product of the numerators over that of the denominators and simplify.
Step 2: Multiply polynomials Handle polynomials by multiplying each term in the 2nd polynomial by each term in the first one. Combine like terms.
Step 3: Multiply signed numbers Multiply signed numbers the same way you multiply unsigned ones, but take into account the signs.
TIP: If both numbers are negative or positive, the product is positive. If 1 number is positive and the other is negative, the product is negative.
Step 4: Handle exponents Multiply 2 terms in the same variable by adding their exponents.
Step 5: Multiply square roots Handle 2 terms involving the square roots of positive numbers by multiplying the 2 numbers under the square root sign. Multiplication is as simple as that unless, of course, you are like the snake who claimed he couldn't multiply because he was an adder.
FACT: The concept of zero was in use in India five centuries before it made its way to Europe.