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# Introductiontothenotionoflimit

Objectives:

Attheendofthislessonthelearnershould:
1)Haveanideaofwhatalimitis
2)Beabletocalculatealimitusingthegraph,tableandalgebramethod

TheIdea

Thelimitofafunctiondescribesthebehaviorofthefunctionwhenthevariableisnearbutdoes
notequal,aspecifiednumber.Ifthevaluesoff(x)getcloser
andcloser,ascloseaswewant,toonenumberLaswetakethevaluesofxveryclose
to(butnotequalto)anumberc,thenwesay"thelimitoff(x),asxapproachesc,isLandwe
writelimf(x)=L.
x c
Methodsfordetermininglimits

1)TheGraphmethod

Explanationofthesolutionofa)

Doyouunderstandthestatementinthesolutionofthefirstlimit?.Itsays:Whenxisveryclose
to1thevaluesoff(x)areclosetoy=2.Incaseyoudontunderstandityoucantaketakesome
pointsonthexaxisverycloseto1,projectthemonthecurvetodeterminethecorresponding
pointsontheyaxis.Youhavetodothatbothtotheleftandrightto1.Forexampletakepointa
onthexaxistotheleftof1,drawaperpendicularonthecurve.Fromtheintersectionofthis
perpendicularandthecurvedrawaparalleltothexaxistodeterminethecorrespondingpointon
theyaxis.Repeatthesameprocesswithtwootherpointsb,ccloserto1(totheleftof1)and
determinethecorrespondingpointsontheyaxis.Youcannotewhenxiscloserto1andtothe
leftof1yisclosertoy=2ontheleftof2.Repeatthesameprocessontherightof2with3points
c,d.e,etcandverifythatthecorrespondingpointsontheyaxisareclosertoy=2ontheright.
Youcanapplythistocalculatetheotherlimits.Incaseyouhaveaproblemtofigurethisoutjust
rewatchthevideoatthebeginningofthelesson.

Explanationofthesolutionofb)andc)

Thesamemethodasabovecanbeusedtocalculatethelimit.Inthiscasethelimitoff(x)is2for
a)and1forb)

Explanationofthesolutionofd)

Whenthevaluesofxareslightlylessthan4totheleftf(x)arecloseto2.Whenthevaluesofx
areslightlylargerto4ontherightf(x)arecloseto3.Sincef(x)cannotbeclosetoasingle
numberthenthelimitoff(x)doesntexist.

2)Thetablemethod

Determinethelimitofthefunctionf(x)=x+1whenxapproachestozero.
Letsstartbytakingsomevaluesofxcloseto0totheleftandseewhathappenstothe
correspondingvaluesofy.
Forx=0.3f(x)=0.3+1=0.7
Forx=0.2f(x)=0.2+1=0.8
Forx=0.1f(x)=0.1+1=0.9
Forx=0.01f(x)=0.01+1=0.99.
Letssummarizethevaluesonatable:

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.01

f(x)

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.99

Accordingtothistableasxgetscloserto0ontheleftf(x)getscloserto1ontheleft.

Letsgivexsomevaluesto0closetotheright.
x=0.3f(x)=0.3+1=1.3
x=0.2fx)=0.2+1=1.2
x=0.1f(x)=0.1+1=1.1
x=0.01f(x)=0.01+1=1.01
Letsdothetablevalues:

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.01

f(x)

1.3

1.2

1.1

1.01

Whenxgetscloserto0ontherightf(x)getscloserto1ontheright.Sincef(X)getscloserto1
whenxgetscloserto0bothtotheleftandtherightof0wesaythatthelimitoff(x)whenx
approaches0is1.

3)Algebramethod

Thealgebramethodconsistsinreplacingthevalueofxinthefunction.
Example:determinethelimitoff(x)=x2+2x+3whenxapproaches3.
Solution:
Replacingxby3inthefunctionwegetlimf(x)=(3)2+2(3)+3=9+6+3=18.

Practice

Determinethelimitofthefollowingfunctionsbyusingthetableandthealgebramethod:

## (a)f(x)=x+4(b)f(x)=x 2 + x+3f(x)= x+2

x whenxapproaches2.