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INTRO A piecewise function exists when a function is defined by two or more different functions throughout its domain. The first step in evaluating a piecewise function is to determine which function definition applies depending on the value of x that is being input. Once that has been determined, we evaluate the function as usual by substituting in the given value of x. _______________________________________________________________________ ⎧− x if x < 0 , find f (-1), f (0), and f (1) Example: Given f ( x) = ⎨ 2 ⎩ x + 1 if x ≥ 0

Solution: First, we want to evaluate f at x = −1 , so f ( x) = − x is the equation to use (since it applies whenever x < 0 ). f ( x) = − x f (−1) = −(−1)

**f (−1) = 1 Next, we want to evaluate f at x = 0 , so f ( x) = x 2 + 1 is the equation to use (since it applies whenever x ≥ 0 ). f ( x) = x 2 + 1
**

f (0) = 0 2 + 1 f (0) = 1

**Finally, we want to evaluate f at x = 1 , so f ( x) = x 2 + 1 is the equation to use (since it applies whenever x ≥ 0 ). f ( x) = x 2 + 1
**

f (1) = 12 + 1 f (1) = 2 _______________________________________________________________________

ABSOLUTE VALUE FUNCTIONS An absolute value function can be rewritten as a piecewise function. Absolute value is the distance from a number ‘x’ to 0 on the real number line. Therefore, when the value of a function is equal to zero or is positive, taking its absolute value doesn’t change it; however if the value is negative, taking its absolute value changes the sign. Therefore, the definition of the function changes depending on whether or not x ≥ 0 . ⎧ x if x ≥ 0 y= x =⎨ ⎩− x if x < 0

_______________________________________________________________________ Example: Write y = x − 2 as a piecewise function and evaluate f (0), f (2), and f (5).

Solution:

⎧ x − 2 if x − 2 ≥ 0 or x ≥ 2 y = x−2 = ⎨ ⎩− ( x − 2) if x − 2 < 0 or x < 2

**First, to find f (0) , we use f ( x) = −( x − 2) , since this applies when x < 2 : f ( x) = −( x − 2)
**

f (0) = −(0 − 2) =2 Next, to find f (2) , we use f ( x) = x − 2 , since this applies when x ≥ 2 : f ( x) = x − 2 f (2) = 2 − 2 =0 Finally, to find f (5) , we use f ( x) = x − 2 , since this again applies when x ≥ 2 : f ( x) = x − 2 f (5) = 5 − 2 =3 _______________________________________________________________________

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