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complex numbers

when i ask for the Re or Im parts of the a numerical conjugate, mathematica (4.0) does the operation correctly, but for a conjugate made of symbols (such as a+bI) it does not recognize whether the variable is real or not.  i've tried to set the variable with a pattern and a blank to indicate them as such (ie a_Real) but still, mathematica doesn't see a difference.  what can i do to work around the problem?


{"4.0 for Microsoft Windows (April 21, 1999)"}

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