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The Free High School Science Texts:
Textbooks for High School Students
Studying the Sciences
Mathematics

Copyright c 2007 “Free High School Science Texts” Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front- Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”

Webpage: http://www.fhsst.org/
The Free High School Science Texts:
Textbooks for High School Students
Studying the Sciences
Mathematics

Copyright c 2007 “Free High School Science Texts” Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front- Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”

Webpage: http://www.fhsst.org/

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07/09/2013

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If we wish to sum any arithmetic sequence, there is no need to work it out term-for-term. We
will now determine the general formula to evaluate a ﬁnite arithmetic series. We start with the

466

CHAPTER 36. SEQUENCES AND SERIES - GRADE 12

36.6

general formula for an arithmetic sequence and sum it from i = 1 to any positive integer n:

n
i=1

ai =

n
i=1

[a1 +d(i−1)]

=

n
i=1

(a1 +di−d)

=

n
i=1

[(a1−d) +di]

=

n
i=1

(a1−d) +

n
i=1

(di)

=

n
i=1

(a1−d) +d

n
i=1

i

= (a1−d)n+ dn

2 (n + 1)

= n

2 (2a1−2d+dn +d)

= n

2 (2a1 +dn−d)

= n

2 [2a1 +d(n−1)]

So, the general formula for determining an arithmetic series is given by

Sn =

n
i=1

[a1 +d(i−1)] = n

2 [2a1 +d(n−1)]

(36.25)

For example, if we wish to know the series S20 for the arithmetic sequence ai = 3 + 7(i−1),
we could either calculate each term individually and sum them:

S20 =

20
i=1

[3 + 7(i−1)]

= 3 + 10 + 17 + 24 + 31 + 38 + 45 + 52 +

59 + 66 + 73 + 80 + 87 + 94 + 101 +

108 + 115 + 122 + 129 + 136

= 1390

or, more sensibly, we could use equation (36.25) noting that a1 = 3, d = 7 and n = 20 so that

S20 =

20
i=1

[3 + 7(i−1)]

= 20

2 [2·3 + 7(20−1)]

= 1390

In this example, it is clear that using equation (36.25) is beneﬁcial.

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