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1.2 Algebraic Limits and Continuity

1.2 Algebraic Limits and Continuity

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Math 135 Business Calculus Spring 2009Class Notes
1.2 Algebraic Limits and Continuity
In the last section, we showed how we can evaluate limits numerically and graphically. However, thesemethods can be time consuming and are often not practical for finding the exact values of limits. Inthis section, we’ll see how to evaluate limits algebraically using the following principles.
LIMIT PRINCIPLES
If lim
x
a
(
x
) =
L
and lim
x
a
g
(
x
) =
, then we have the folowing:
1.1
lim
x
a
c
=
c
.(The limit of a constant is the constant.)
1.2
For any positive integer
n
,lim
x
a
£
(
x
)
§
n
=
h
lim
x
a
(
x
)
i
n
=
L
n
,
andlim
x
a
n
(
x
) =
n
lim
x
a
(
x
) =
n
L,
assuming that
L
0 when
n
is even.(The limit of a power is the power of the limit, and the limit of a root is the root of the limit.)
1.3
lim
x
a
£
(
x
)
±
g
(
x
)
§
= lim
x
a
(
x
)
±
lim
x
a
g
(
x
) =
L
±
.(The limit of a sum or di
ff 
erence is the sum or the di
ff 
erence of the limits.)
1.4
lim
x
a
£
(
x
)
·
g
(
x
)
§
=
h
lim
x
a
(
x
)
i
·
h
lim
x
a
g
(
x
)
i
=
L
·
.(The limit of a product is the product of the limits.)
1.5
lim
x
a
g
(
x
)
(
x
)=lim
x
a
g
(
x
)lim
x
a
g
(
x
)=
L
provided that
L
6
= 0.(The limit of a quotient is the quotient of the limits.)
1.6
lim
x
a
£
cf 
(
x
)
§
=
c
·
lim
x
a
(
x
) =
c
˙
L
.(The limit of a constant times a function is the constant times the limit.)It is easy to see why these properties are true. For instance, if 
(
x
) is close to
L
and
g
(
x
) is closeto
, it is reasonable to conclude that
(
x
) +
g
(
x
) is close to
L
+
. This gives us an intuitive basisfor believing that the limit of a sum is the sum of the limits.
EXAMPLE
Use the Limit Principles to find lim
x
4
(
x
2
3
x
+ 7).
5
 
6
Chapter 1
Di 
ff  
erentiation
Note that in the preceding example, if we let
(
x
) =
x
2
3
x
+ 7, then lim
x
4
(
x
) =
(4). That is,the limit of 
(
x
) as
x
approaches 4 equals the value of the function at
x
= 4.
EXAMPLE
Use the Limit Principles to find lim
x
→−
2
x
3
+ 3
x
2
1
x
+ 4.In this example, also, if we let
g
(
x
) =
x
3
+ 3
x
2
1
x
+ 4, then lim
x
→−
2
g
(
x
) =
g
(
2). Again, the limit of the function as
x
approaches
2 equals the value of the function at
x
=
2. The result of these twoexamples can be shown to hold in general, as stated in the following theorem.
THEOREM ON LIMITS OF POLYNOMIALS AND RATIONAL FUNCTIONS
For any polynomial or rational function
(
x
), with
a
in the domain of 
,lim
x
a
(
x
) =
(
a
)
.
The limit of a polynomial or rational function as
x
approaches
a
equals the value of the function at
x
=
a
.
EXAMPLE
Find lim
x
0
x
2
3
x
+ 2.
 
1.2
Algebraic Limits and Continuity 
7
EXAMPLE
Find lim
x
→−
3
x
2
9
x
+ 3.Note that even though the function
x
2
9
x
+ 3in this limit is a rational function, we cannot apply thetheorem to evaluate the limit as
x
approaches
3 since
3 is not in the domain of 
.
a)
Numerically by completing the table of values.
x
approaches
3 from left
|
x
approaches
3 from right
x
4
3
.
1
3
.
01
3
.
001
3
2
.
999
2
.
99
2
.
9
2
(
x
)
b)
Graphically
 –6
 
 –5
 
 –4
 
 –3
 
 –2
 
 1 1 2 3 4 5 6
 x
 
 –6
 
 –5
 
 –4
 
 –3
 
 –2
 
 –1123456
 y
c)
Algebraically

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