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**SECTION 2.2: PROPERTIES OF LIMITS and ALGEBRAIC FUNCTIONS
**

LEARNING OBJECTIVES • Know properties of limits, and use them to evaluate limits of functions, particularly algebraic functions. • Understand how the properties of limits justify the limit theorems in Section 2.1. • Be able to use informal Limit Form notation to analyze limits. even • Learn to exercise caution when handling Limit Form 0 .

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PART A: PROPERTIES OF LIMITS / THE ALGEBRA OF LIMITS; LIMIT FORMS Assume that: lim f x = L1 , and lim g x = L2 , where a, L1 , L2 .

xa xa

()

()

**1) The limit of a sum equals the sum of the limits.
**

xa

lim f x + lim g x f x + g x = xlim a xa = L1 + L2

() ()

()

()

• We may refer to this as the Sum Rule of Limits. For example, as x a , if f ( x ) 2 and g ( x ) 3 , then f ( x ) + g ( x ) 5. We can represent this informally using a Limit Form: ( Limit Form 2 + 3) 5 . WARNING 1: Limit Forms. There is no standard notation for Limit Forms, and they represent footnotes to the rigorous evaluation of limits. Different instructors may have different rules on when Limit Forms need to be written. 2) The limit of a difference equals the difference of the limits.

xa

lim f x lim g x f x g x = xlim a xa = L1 L2

() ()

()

()

For example, ( Limit Form 5 3) 2 .

Limit Form 3 . or lim f x g x = lim f x lim g x lim f x g x xa xa x a x a = L1 L2 For example. 4) The limit of a quotient equals the quotient of the limits. but it actually says something more powerful. this idea falls apart when the base f ( x ) approaches a negative number. or ( 2 ) 7/2 . 2 5) The limit of a (positive integer) power equals the power of the limit. () () () () () () lim f x f x f x xa . . It says that “something approaching 2” raised to an “exponent approaching 3” will approach 8. or lim lim = xa g x xa g x lim g x xa = L1 L2 () () () () () () . (constant 3) 8 . If n is a positive integer n + .2 3) The limit of a product equals the product of the limits. but it is not true that ( ) )( xa ) 2 ) ( (Limit Form ( 2) ) 8 . for example. if the limit of the divisor (or denominator) is not zero. if L2 0 6 For example. . then: n = lim f x lim f x xa x a ( ) () () n = L1 ( ) n • This is a direct consequence of Property 3. It is true that (constant 3) Limit Form ( 2 ) 8 . Think about why ( 2) 3 ) 3. For instance. However. is not a real number.2. we will address this issue in Part B. Limit Form 2 ( ( xa )( xa lim x = lim x .5 . ( Limit Form 2 3) 6 . xa lim x 2 = lim xx = lim x xa For example.2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2.(Section 2. • The seemingly simpler statement Limit Form 2 3 8 is also true.

A demonstration follows. Properties 1-6. • In multivariable calculus.2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2.8. and 6) imply that limit operators are linear operators.1.” assuming the limits exist. Footnote 6. 6. and then constant factors “pop out.3 6) The limit of a constant multiple equals the constant multiple of the limit. Note: Properties 5.) • This is a key property that is shared by differentiation and integration operators in later chapters. (“Constant Factors Pop Out. (See Footnote 1. and 7 (upcoming) are generalized in Section 2.2. twice “something that approaches 3” will approach 6. then: xa lim cf x = c lim f x c f x . justify the Basic Limit Theorem for Rational Functions in Section 2. This means that we can take limits term-by-term. or xlim a xa = cL1 () () () For example. 2). Limit Operators are Linear Properties 1).”) If c . xa xa . then we can pop out y.(Section 2. if y is independent of x. building on the elementary rules lim c = c and lim x = a ( a. c ) .

though we often use it informally even when the limit turns out not to exist. as the Basic Limit Theorem for Rational Functions suggests.2.4 Example 1 (Demonstrating How the Properties of Limits Justify the Basic Limit Theorem for Rational Functions) 3x 2 1 Evaluate lim using the properties of limits in this section. so we could apply Properties 1-6. § . Our use of the “ = ” sign is appropriate here. x4 x + 5 § Solution 3x 2 1 3x 2 1 xlim 4 lim = x4 x + 5 lim x + 5 x4 ( ( ) ) ( by Property 4 on quotients) ( by Properties 1.(Section 2. see Note 1 below ) Note 1: Observe that the limit can be evaluated by simply substituting x = 4 3x 2 1 .2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2. or by Property 3 on products: x 2 = xx = = 3 lim x 4+5 2 ) 1 2 3 4 1 () 4+5 47 = 9 ( by elementary rules. differences) = x4 lim 3x 2 lim 1 x4 x4 lim x + lim 5 x4 = = x4 lim 3x 2 1 3 lim x 2 1 x4 ( ( 4+5 4+5 x4 ) ( by elementary rules) ( by Property 6 on constant multiples) by Property 5 on powers. 2 on sums. into x+5 Note 2: Observe that all indicated limits exist and there are no zero denominator issues.

lim x does not exist (DNE). lim+ x . where f is the (principal) square root function. lim x .2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2.(Section 2. lim x 1 x 1 x . We emphasize the interesting cases where a = 0. = x lim x a+ a+ xa x a lim f x + lim g x . evidently. and lim x0 x0 x0 x. . x 1 lim x = 1 = 1 . § Solution The graph of y = x is below.5 Properties of One-Sided Limits Properties 1-6 extend naturally to one-sided limits.2. For example. Example 2 (Evaluating the Limit of a Square Root) Evaluate lim x . There is no way to approach x = 1 through the domain of f . • Actually. a much more complicated property on roots. PART B: PROPERTIES OF LIMITS OF ROOTS We now motivate Property 7. () () () () lim f ( x ) + g ( x ) f ( x ) + lim+ g ( x ) . this is not because x 1 1 is imaginary. It is because there is no punctured neighborhood of x = 1 on which x is real. and f x + g x = x lim a xa provided the indicated limits exist.

§ Example 3 (Evaluating the Limit of a Cube Root) Evaluate lim § Solution The graph of y = 3 x is below. lim x does not exist (DNE). Example 6. x0 lim Therefore.1. .2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2. this is a key difference from square roots. lim 3 x = 3 0 = 0. x does not exist (DNE). The (principal) cube roots of negative real numbers are (negative) real numbers.2. Dom f = 0. x 0+ x 0 ( ) ) lim x = 0 = 0.(Section 2. even roots tend to require more thought than odd roots. not just x. x 1 x0 lim 3 x = 3 1 = 1. here. 3 x 1 x and lim 3 x0 x. § Property 7 now extends our observations from Examples 2 and 3 to more general radicands. The domain of the cube root function is . as well.6 Review Section 2. and also to general types of roots. WARNING 2: In theory. It turns out that substituting x = a works here for both limits.

2.2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2.7 As before. 7*) Properties of Limits of Even Roots Let n be a positive even integer. change this to a right-neighborhood for a right-hand limit and a left-neighborhood for a left-hand limit. and Limit Form 3 8 2 . corresponding to L1 = 0 .(Section 2. f x does not exist (DNE). is assumed to be a constant. xa () 7) The limit of a root equals the root of the limit … sometimes. then lim xa xa n f x = n L1 by Property 7.” In particular. the limit does not exist (DNE). xa f x = 0 or “DNE. The one-sided limits n () • If L1 < 0 . and L1 > 0 ). • If L1 = 0 . • If L1 > 0 . Property 7* below elaborates on limits of even roots. or • (n is even. and either • (n is odd). Limit Forms such as 1 and 4 5 imply that the limits do not exist (DNE). could either yield a limit value of 0 or a limit that does not exist (DNE). such as the “3” in even 8 . assume lim f x = L1 . 3 ) ( ) (The index of a radical. Limit Form ( 4 2 . then lim xa n lim+ n f x and lim xa n () n () f ( x ) also do not exist (DNE). Informally.” but further analysis is required to determine ( ) which is the case. even Limit Form 0 0 or “DNE. If n is a positive integer n + . then: xa ( ) lim n f x = () n xa lim f x () = n L1 For example.) WARNING 3: The Limit Form 0 . . then lim •• lim xa () f ( x ) = 0 f ( x ) 0 on some punctured neighborhood of a. •• Otherwise.

x2 () Dom f = x x 3 and x 3 = 3. and the Limit Form 0 will not appear. 3 3. we often substitute immediately and see what happens. and if any 0 Limit Forms encountered only yield 0 (not “DNE”). when we evaluate the limit of an algebraic function.2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2. and no radicand of any even root approaches 0 in the limit even (informally. xa ( ) () () • To evaluate the limit. • all polynomial functions are also rational functions. . the Limit Form 0 does not appear).2. Remember that: • all constant functions are also polynomial functions. and • all rational functions are also algebraic functions.) If we end up with a even real number. Evaluate lim f x . Observe that: 2 f ( x ) is real x + 3 0 and 3 x 9 0 ( ) . but further analysis is required. As a result. If the Limit Form 0 does appear. this substitution method might still work. even We observe that 2 Dom f . and evaluate f a .(Section 2.8 PART C: LIMITS OF ALGEBRAIC FUNCTIONS Our understanding of Property 7 will now allow us to extend our Basic Limit Theorem for Rational Functions to more general algebraic functions. (We might not have time to find the domain. How is the radicand approaching 0? Example 4 (Evaluating the Limit of an Algebraic Function) Let f x = § Solution f is an algebraic function. \ 3 = 3. then lim f x = f a . . so ( ) { ( ) } ) {} () ) ( ) we substitute (“plug in”) x = 2 and evaluate f 2 . Basic Limit Theorem for Algebraic Functions If f is an algebraic function. TIP 1: As a practical matter. a Dom f . substitute (“plug in”) x = a . even () () 3 ( x4 3x 9 ) 2 + x + 3 . then that number will be the limit value.

r 1 0) § Solution • The radicand 3r 2 3 is rational. or 9 9 3 0 in the following Examples. or 9 § We confront the Limit Form even 2 9 5 3 2 5 . • The graph of y = 3r 2 3 follows. . This is important. By the Extended Limit Theorem for Rational Functions in Section 2.1.(Section 2. even Example 5 (Resolving the Limit Form Evaluate lim+ 3r 2 3 . In fact. The zeros of 3r 2 3 .2. • We use Property 7*. and then lim+ 3r 2 3 = 0 . so we r 1 ( ) are facing the Limit Form even 0. Otherwise.9 3 x 4 lim f x = lim + x + 3 2 x2 x2 3x 9 () ( ) ( 2) 4 + 2 + 3 = () 3( 2 ) 9 3 2 3 = 2 + 5 9 3 2 = + 5. 1 and 1. the limit r 1 would not exist (DNE). We will show that 3r 2 3 0 on a rightneighborhood of r = 1 . we find that lim+ 3r 2 3 = 0 . here. because we are only allowed to approach r = 1 through this domain (in purple). correspond to the r-intercepts. It is an upward-opening parabola in the ry-plane. It corresponds to the parts of the parabola that lie above or on the r-axis. The domain of 3r 2 3 consists of the r-values that make y = 3r 2 3 0 .2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2. we can approach r = 1 from the right.

see Section 2. Observe that the graph disappears where 3r 2 3 < 0 .(Section 2. lim+ 3r 2 3 = 0 . r >1 r2 > 1 3r > 3 2 Therefore. r 1 (For more. this is where we fall outside the domain (in purple).10 Therefore. As r 1+ . lim+ 3r 2 3 = 0 . § . Now.2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2. r > 1 .7: Nonlinear Inequalities in the Precalculus notes. r 1 3r 2 3 > 0 The graph of y = 3r 2 3 is below.2.) Here’s a non-graphical approach.

§ Solution 2 ( x + 7) x 7 ( ) 2 2 0 for all real x x 7 lim ( x + 7) 2 = lim x 7 x+7 ( x ) . The fact that limit operators are linear implies that the limit of a linear combination of f ( x ) and g ( x ) equals the linear combination of the limits: xa lim f x + d lim g x c f x + d g x = c xlim a xa 1 2 () () () = cL + dL ( c. § FOOTNOTES 1. x + 7 0 . x 7 even ( x + 7) 2 . Example 6 (Evaluating a Limit Using Example 5 and Properties of Limits) Evaluate lim+ 7 3r 2 3 + 5 . Therefore. d ) () .11.2: Properties of Limits and Algebraic Functions) 2. lim = 7 + 7 =0 Below is the graph of ( x + 7) 2 = 0.1 on sums) by Prop. rules = 7 0 +5 =5 § () ( by Example 5) 0) Example 7 (Resolving the Limit Form Evaluate lim § Solution 1 As x 7 . or y = x + 7 . 6 on constant = 7 lim+ 3r 2 3 + 5 r 1 multiples.2. Limits of linear combinations. § y= ( x + 7) 2 .(Section 2. r 1 ( ) § Solution r 1 lim+ 7 3r 2 3 + 5 = lim+ 7 3r 2 3 + lim+ 5 r 1 r 1 ( ) ( by Prop. elem.

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