The factors of the number 38 are 1, 2, 19 and 38. For any positive number, the number 1 and the number itself are factors, so 1 and 38 are inherent factors. Additional numbers that divide 38 evenly are 2 and 19.
A mathematical factor is a number that can divide another number and leave no remainder. Therefore, any number can be divided evenly by each of the factors of that number. To express a number as a product of all that number's factors is a process called factoring.
To determine the factors of any number, begin by writing the number 1 on the left side, and the number itself on the far right side. Next, attempt to divide the original number by each subsequent positive number in order. If each attempted number can divide the original number evenly, then those two factors are added to the list with the lower number on the left and the higher number on the right. When there are no more numbers between the left side and right side that can divide the original number into a whole number, the list of factors for that number is complete. The ability to effectively factor numbers is a critical step to understanding algebra and other higher-order mathematics.