do I use -5 outside the parenthesis to multiply each value inside the parenthesis?

The way it is written you should simplify to:

a + 5 - 5, which equals a. The parenthesis are not necessary for this problem, but if you follow normal order of operations rules (parens first, then exponents, then multiply/divide, then add/subtract), you would also end up with a for the answer.

If it was written:

-5(a + 5), then that would simplify to -5a - 25

## Comments

(a+5)-5

distribute -5 to a and 5 in parenthesis.

-5a-25

If the question reads: (a plus 5) minus 5 then the answer is simply a

Lisa is correct as long as the question reads:

(a plus 5) multiplied by negative 5

but that is generally written as -5(a+5)

Oops I should have read the rest of the comments before posting