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A factor of a number is a number that number can be divided by. For instance, 20 has the factors 1, 2, 4, 5, 10 and 20. 28 has the factors 1, 2, 4, 7, 14 and 28. Common factors are factors which appear in both lists. In this instance, 1, 2 and 4 are common factors of 20 and 28. The greatest common factor is the biggest number out of the common factors. In this case, 4 is the greatest common factor.

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Q: How are factors common factors and greatest common factors different?

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A factor is a number by which another is exactly divisible. Every number has factors. Some numbers have the same factors as other numbers. Those are common factors. When comparing lists of common factors, the largest number is called the greatest common factor, or GCF.

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the greatest common factors of what? The question makes no sense as it stands.

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