[irrelevant backstory] Started college yesterday, first class is college algebra, first assignment is solving quadratic equations by completing the square. In the quadratic equation (x^2)-6x+5=0, it is required to square a negative three when solving to find the answer. [/irrelevant backstory] The calculator told me that -3^2 = -9. But when you square a number, isn't that the same as (-3)*(-3)? I assume it would equal positive 9 because it's a negative times a negative. Research (can't find the link anymore) says that when you square a number you only apply the square to the integer because the negative sign becomes an implied 0-x, meaning that the way to square a number is 0-(3^2). What am I missing? Is everything I know wrong? Is squaring a number not the same as taking it to the power of two?