Definition: Let $K$ be a field. Two polynomials $F, G in K[x, y]$ are said to be Equivalent if there exists a nonzero $lambda in K$ such that $F = lambda G$. This forms an equivalence relation on the set of polynomials in $K[x, y]$. An Affine Plane Curve is an equivalence class of such nonconstant polynomials. |

For example, $y – x^2 = 0$ is an affine plane curve, and this curve is equivalent to the curves $lambda (y – x^2) = 0$ for every nonzero $lambda in K$.

We now define some characteristics of affine plane curves.

Definition: Let $K$ be a field. If $F in K[x, y]$ is an affine plane curve and $F = prod_{i=1}^{n} F_i^{m_i}$ where each $F_i$ is an irreducible polynomial, then each $F_i$ is called a Component of $F$ with Multiplicity $m_i$.1) A component $F_i$ is said to be a Simple Component if $m_i = 1$.2) A component $F_i$ is said to be a Multiple Component if $m_i geq 2$. |

For example, consider the following affine plane curve:

(1)

begin{align} quad (x + 2)(y^3 + 2x)^2 = 0 end{align}

The component $x + 2$ is a simple component, while the component $y^3 + 2x$ is a multiple component.

Definition: Let $K$ be a field. The Degree of an affine plane curve is the degree of any polynomial which defines the curve.1) A Line is an affine plane curve of degree $1$.2) A Conic is an affine plane curve of degree $2$.3) A Cubic is an affine plane curve of degree $3$.4) A Quartic is an affine plane curve of degree $4$. |

Examples of lines, conics, cubics, and quartics are respectively:

(2)

begin{align} quad x + 2y + 1 = 0 quad , quad x^2 – yx = 0 quad , quad xy^2 – 2 = 0 quad , quad x^4 + y^4 = 0 end{align}