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Maths / Straight Lines
Straight Lines
01. Introduction
02. Straight Lines
03. Pair of Straight Lines
CONCEPT NO CONCEPT NO CONCEPT NO CONCEPT NO CONCEPT NOTES TES TES TES TES
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Maths / Straight Lines
Straight Lines
Coordinate geometry is a marriage of pure geometry and algebra, and is indispensable in all branches of science
today. Many of you must be pretty familiar with the general outline of this subject.
We will restrict ourselves to 2dimensional (plane) coordinate geometry in the following pages. Later on, we will
also get the chance of studying 3dimensional coordinate geometry.
The basic idea in coordinate geometry, as has been mentioned earlier, is to study the properties of geometrical
figures such as straight lines, circles, parabolas etc through the use of numbers. The core concept is that on a
2dimensional (Euclidean) plane, any point can be represented by a pair of real numbers, using two nonparallel
straight lines. The point where these two nonparallel reference lines meet is termed the origin of the reference axis.
By convention, one axis is called the xaxis and one the yaxis. Any point on the plane can now be determined in
reference to this reference axes as described in the figure below:
yaxis
xaxis
(origin) O
x
y
The point P lies x units along the
xaxis and y units along the yaxis,
and therefore, P can be represented as
(x, y). Note that x, y
x is called the abscissa of P while y is
the ordinate of P. x and y together are
called the coordinates of P.
ε R
P
Fig  1
Conversely, given the coordinates x and y of a point P, we can easily determine its location by moving x units
along the xaxis and then yunits parallel to the yaxis.
Notice that as long as the two axes are nonparallel, the entire plane is representable using these two axes as
reference. These two axes in general can be at any nonzero angle to each other.
Section  1 INTRODUCTION
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Maths / Straight Lines
However, it is almost always the case (out of convenience) that the two axis are taken at right angles to each other.
Such axes are called Rectangular Axes. We will always be using Rectangular Axes in our discussion from now
onwards.
With this introduction, we start with the most elementary of geometric figures: line segments and lines (and other
geometric figures obtainable from these elementary ones, like polygons).
For a good command over coordinate geometry, a lot of results will be required to be memorised since they are
encountered so often. For this purpose, each new theorem or result or property that we will encounter in the
following pages is discussed in a separate article for ease of reference later.
Art 1 :
Distance formula
One of the most basic expressions in coordinate geometry is that of the distance between two arbitrary
points ( ) ( )
1 1 1 2 2 2
, and , P x y P x y . To obtain the required distance in terms of the coordinates of these
points, the Pythagoras theorem is employed as described in the figure below:
P (x ,y )
2 2 2
A
d
P
1
(x ,y )
1 1
Note that:
(i) OC = x ; OB = x
BC = AP = x – x
1 2
1 2 1
⇒
(ii) CP = y ; BP = y
AP = y – y
1 1 2 2
2 2 1
⇒
x
y
O C B
Fig  2
As explained in the figure, the distances AP
1
and AP
2
have been obtained. Thus, by the Pythagoras
theorem, the distance d is
2 2
1 2
AP AP +
or
( ) ( )
2 2
2 1 2 1
d x x y y · − + −
As a direct consequence of this formula, the distance of an arbitrary point P(x, y) from the origin is
2 2
x y +
. As an elementary exercise, assume four points anywhere on the coordinate plane randomly,
and use the distance formula to calculate the distance between each pair of points.
Art 2 :
Section formula
Suppose that we are given two fixed points in the coordinate plane, say ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2
, and , A x y B x y . We
need to find the coordinates of the point C which divides the line segment AB in the ratio m : n. Observe
Section  2 STRAIGHT LINES
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Maths / Straight Lines
that two such points will exist. Name them C
1
and C
2
. One of them will divide the line segment AB
internally in the ratio m : n while the other will divide AB in the same ratio externally, as shown in the
figure below:
B(x , y )
2 2
C (x , y )
1 i i
A(x , y )
1 1
Internal division
C divides AB internally in
the ratio m : n. Thus,
1
C (x , y )
2 e e
B(x , y )
2 2
A(x , y )
1 1
External division
C divides AB externally in
the ratio m : n. Thus,
2
AC
1
C
1
B
m
n
=
AC
2
C
2
B
m
n
=
y
x
y
x
Fig  3
Let us find the coordinates of C
1
using the help of the more detailed figure of internal division below:
B(x , y )
2 2
C (x , y )
1 i i
A(x , y )
1 1
D
E
(0, y )
2
(0, y )
i
(0, y)
(x ,0)
1
(x ,0)
i
(x ,0)
2
Note that AEC
and ADB are
similar. Thus,
1
AE
AD
EC
1
DB
=
AC
1
AB
=
It is given that
AC : C B = m : n.
Thus,
1 1
AC
1
AB
m
m + n
=
y
x
O
Fig  4
As described in the figure above,
1
AE EC m
AD DB m n
· ·
+
1 1
2 1 2 1
i i
x x y y m
x x y y m n
− −
⇒ · ·
− − +
2 1 2 1
,
i i
mx nx my ny
x y
m n m n
+ +
⇒ · ·
+ +
Thus, the coordinates of the point C
1
which divides AB internally in the ratio m : n are
2 1 2 1
:
,
Internal
Divisionm n
mx nx my ny
m n m n
+ +
+ +
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Using an analogous approach, we can obtain the coordinates of the point C
2
which divides AB externally
in the ratio m : n
2 1 2 1
:
,
External
Division m n
mx nx my ny
m n m n
− −
− −
A particular case of internal division is finding the coordinates of the midpoint of AB. Since the midpoint
of AB divides the segment AB in the ratio 1 : 1, the coordinates of the midpoint will be
( ) ( )
1 1 2 2
1 2 1 2
, and ,
,
2 2
Mid point of ABwhere
A x y B x y
x x y y
−
≡ ≡
+ +
Let us put these rudimentary results to use.
Find the coordinates of the centroid of a triangle with the vertices ( ) ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2 3 3
, , , and , . A x y B x y C x y
Solution: To determine the centroid, we will borrow a result from plane geometry that you might remember from
high school: the centroid divides any median in the ratio 2 : 1.
A(x , y )
1 1
B(x , y )
2 2
C(x , y )
3 3
G
AD is a median of ABC
G divides AD in the
ratio 2 : 1, i.e,
AG : GD = 2 : 1
Fig  5
D
The coordinates of D, the midpoint of BC, are
2 3 2 3
,
2 2
x x y y + +  `
. ,
. Since : 2:1, AG GD ·
we have the coordinates of G by the section formula as
2 3 2 3
1 1
2 1. 2 1.
2 2
,
2 1 2 1
x x y y
x y
G
+ +  `  `
+ +
. , . ,
≡
+ +
1 2 3 1 2 3
,
3 3
x x x y y y + + + +
≡
v
The expression for the centroid confirms the obvious fact that the coordinates of the centroid are
‘symmetric’ with respect to the coordinates of the three vertices of the triangle.
Example – 1
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Maths / Straight Lines
G is the centroid of triangle ABC. If O is any other point in the plane, prove that
2 2 2 2 2 2 2
3 . OA OB OC GA GB GC GO + + · + + +
Solution: There’s no loss of generality in taking O as the origin of our reference axis since even if we are given O
to be a nonorigin point, we can always translate the axes (keeping the triangle ABC unchanged) so
that its origin coincides with O. Note that this operation will have no effect on the lengths
, , , , , , OA OB OC OG GA GB GC etc. However, the expressions for distances will become much
more simplified (In coordinate geometry, you will be required to follow such steps often, so that the
expressions you are to deal with can be kept as simple as possible).
Now, we assume some coordinates for A, B and C as shown in the figure below:
Fig  6
y
x
O
G (x, y)
B (x , y )
2 2
A(x , y )
1 1
1 2 3 1 2 3
,
3 3
x x x y y y + + + +  

\ .
As discussed earlier, the coordinates
of G (x, y) are
C (x , y )
3 3
We have,
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2 3 3
OA OB OC x y x y x y + + · + + + + + ... (1)
while
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
3 GA GB GC GO x x y y x x y y + + + · − + − + − + −
( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
3 3
3 x x y y x y + − + − + +
2 2 2 2 2 2
1 2 3 1 2 3
x x x y y y · + + + + + ... (2)
Comparing (1) and (2), we see that the two expressions are indeed equal
v
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Art  3 Area of a triangle
Suppose we are given three points in the coordinate plane : ( ) ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2 3 3
, , , and , . A x y B x y C x y We
intend to find the area of ABC ∆ in terms of the given coordinates. How to evaluate this area is described
in the figure below:
Example – 2
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Maths / Straight Lines
y
x
O
B (x , y )
2 2
P
Fig  7
Note that
A
(
x
,
y
)
1
1
C (x , y )
3 3
Q R
area ( ABC) =
area (trapezium APQB)
area (trapezium BQRC)
area (trapezium APRC)
+
–
Observe how the area of ABC ∆ has been written in terms of the area of three trapeziums.
From plane geometry, the area of a trapezium is ( )
1
sum of bases height.
2
× × Thus,
( ) ( )
1
area trap.
2
APQB AP BQ PQ · × + ×
( )( )
1 2 2 1
1
2
y y x x · + −
... (1)
Similarly,
( ) ( )
1
area trap.
2
BQRC BQ CR QR · × + ×
( )( )
2 3 3 2
1
2
y y x x · + −
... (2)
( ) ( )
1
area trap.
2
APRC AP CR PR · × + ×
( )( )
1 3 3 1
1
2
y y x x · + −
... (3)
From (1), (2) and (3), we have, upon simplification,
( ) ( )
2 1 1 2 3 2 2 3 1 3 3 1
1
area
2
ABC x y x y x y x y x y x y ∆ · − + − + −
( ) ( ) ( ) { ¦
1 2 3 2 3 1 3 1 2
1
2
x y y x y y x y y · − + − + −
We used the mod sign in the last expression because area is by definition positive.
We can express the area obtained in determinant form very concisely:
( )
1 1
2 2
3 3
1
1
area 1
2
1
x y
ABC x y
x y
∆ · ∆ ·
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As a consequence of this result, we can now easily find the area of an arbitrary quadrilateral ABCD as
describe in the figure below:
y
x
O
D(x , y )
4 4
Fig  8
area (quad ABCD)
= area ( ABC) + area ( ACD)
C(x , y )
3 3
B(x , y )
2 2
A(x , y )
1 1
1 1 1 1
2 2 3 3
3 3 4 4
1 1
1
1 1
2
1 1
x y x y
x y x y
x y x y
¦ ¹
¦ ¦
= +
´ `
¦ ¦
¹ )
In other words, we evaluate
the areas of the two triangles
separately and add them to
get the area of the quadrilateral
We can generalise this method easily to find the area of any polygon as a sum of the areas of the constituent
triangles.
v
Find the area of the triangle, the coordinates of whose vertices are
, , , and ,
a a a
ap aq ar
p q r
 `  `
 `
. ,
. , . ,
.
Solution: Using the result obtained is Art  3, we have,
1
1
1
2
1
a
ap
p
a
aq
q
a
ar
r
∆ ·
1
2
a a a a a a
ap aq ar
q r r p p q
 `  `  `
· − + − + −
. , . , . ,
( ) ( ) ( )
2
2
p r q q p r r q p
a
qr pr pq
− − −
· + +
( ) ( ) ( )
2 2 2 2
2
a p q r q r p r p q
pqr
− + − + −
·
v
Example – 3
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Assume two fixed points in the coordinate plane: ( ) ( ) , 0 and , 0 A a B a − . A variable point C(x, y) moves in the
plane in such a way that CA + CB is a constant k. Use the distance formula to evaluate the condition that the
coordinates of C must satisfy.
Solution: We have,
( )
2
2
CA x a y · − +
and
( )
2
2
CB x a y · + +
From the constraint specified in the question, we have
CA CB k + ·
2 2 2
2 CA CB CA CB k ⇒ + + ⋅ ·
( ) ( ) ( )
( )
( )
( )
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
2 x a y x a y x a y x a y k ⇒ − + + + + + − + + + ·
( ) ( ) ( )
2
2 2 4 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 x a y y x a k x y a ⇒ − + + + · − + +
( )
4 4 4 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 x y a x y a x a y k x y a ⇒ + + + − + · − + +
Squaring both sides and cancelling out the common terms on both sides, we obtain
( )
2 2 4 2 2 2 2 2 2
8 8 4 a x k a x k x y a − · + − + +
2 2 2 2 2 2 4 2 2
4 16 4 4 k x a x k y k k a ⇒ − + · −
( ) ( )
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
4 4 4 4 x k a k y k k a ⇒ − + · −
This is the relation that the coordinates of the variable point C (x, y) must satisfy. All the pairs (x, y)
which satisfy this equation, when plotted on the coordinate plane, will trace out the path on which the
variable point C is constrained to move. In other words, this equation specifies the locus of the
point C.
____________________________________________________________________________________
Art  4 ( ) Equation representing a straight line s
The last three articles dealt with the preliminaries of coordinate geometry and certain elementary formulae
which find widespread use. With this article, we start the discussion of the geometry of straight lines in
detail.
On the coordinate plane, the simplest case for a straight line would be one in which the line is parallel to
one of the coordinate axes.
Example – 4
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Maths / Straight Lines
y
y
0
O
x
A line parallel to the xaxis.
Any point on this line has a constant
ycoordinate equal to y .
Thus, we can say that the equation
of this line is y = y
(There's no constraint on the
xcoordinate of this line)
0
0
y
x
0 O
x
A line parallel to the yaxis.
Any point on this line has a constant
xcoordinate equal to x .
Thus, we can say that the equation
of this line is x = x
(There's no constraint on the
ycoordinate of this line)
0
0
Fig  9
As described in the figure above, the equation of such a line is
0 0
or y y x x · · accordingly as the line is
parallel to the xaxis or the yaxis respectively.
These are special cases of lines; we want to find the equation of any arbitrary line in general. Visualise any
such line in your mind. To completely specify such a line, you would need two quantities: the inclination of
the line (or its slope or the angle it makes with say, the xaxis) and the placement of the line (i.e. where the
line passes through with reference to the axes: we can specify the placement of the line by specifying the
point on the yaxis through which the line passes, or in other words, by specifying the yintercept.)
θ
We need this angle
which tells us the
inclination of the line
We need this length
which tells us the
placement of the line
c
y
x
Fig  10
It should be obvious to you that any line can be determined uniquely using these two parameters.
We now find out the equation of this straight line, assuming that we know and . c θ In other words, we
intend to find out the relation that the coordinates (x, y) of any arbitrary point on the line must satisfy. The
determination of this equation is straightforward:
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We assume an arbitrary
point P(x, y) on the line
and try to relate x and y
to the known quantities
and c.
The relation we
require is obtainable
from the fact that in APB,
θ
x
Fig  11
PB
AB
tan = θ
θ
y
θ
(x, y)
B
C
O
P
A(0, c)
As described in the figure above, we have in , APB ∆
tan
PB
AB
θ ·
tan
θ
is a measure of the inclination of the line (its steepness). tan θis therefore termed the slope of the line
and is denoted by m. Thus, m = tan
θ
. Also, notice that ( ) and . PB y c AB x · − · Therefore,
y c
m
x
−
·
Slope intercept
y mx c
y
⇒ · +
−
! !
: Slope  intercept form
This is the general equation of a straight line involving its slope and its yintercept. This form of the equation
of the line is therefore termed the slopeintercept form.
Notice that if the line passes through the origin, its equation would reduce to y = mx.
As you might have guessed by now, this is not the only form to represent a straight line. This form uses the
slope and the intercept of the line.
Lets discuss another form. Notice that to uniquely determine any straight line, we either need the slope of
the line and a point through which this line passes, or we need at least two points through which that line
passes. Thus for example, a line can also be uniquely determined if we are given the two points where this
line intersects the xaxis and the yaxis.
θ
The straight line
L can be uniquely
determined if we
know a and b, i.e
if we know the xintercept
and the y  intercept
x
Fig  12
O
b
a
y
φ
L
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Maths / Straight Lines
Notice that tan
b
a
φ · so that the slope of the line is
( ) tan tan tan .
b
m
a
· θ · π− φ · − φ · − Also, the
yintercept is b. Thus, using the slope intercept form obtained earlier, the equation of the line L is
b
y x b
a
· − +
bx ay ab ⇒ + ·
intercept intercept
1
x y
x y
a b
− −
⇒ + ·
" !
: Intercept form
Thus, if we know the x and y intercepts, we can directly use this form to write the equation of the line.
Lets consider a third form to represent a line. From the figure below, observe carefully that to uniquely
determine a line, we could also specify the length of the perpendicular dropped from the origin to that line
and the orientation (inclination) of that perpendicular:
The straight line L
can be uniquely
determined if we know
p and α
y
y
p
α
L
Fig  13
To determine the equation of this line, assume any point P on the line with the coordinate (x, y). Observe
the geometry described in the figure below carefully:
Observe that:
OR = OQ cos = x cos
and
RA = SP = PQ sin
= y sin
α α
α
α
x
Fig  14
O
y
B Q
α
α
R
S
A
P(x, y)
p
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Maths / Straight Lines
From the figure, note that
OR RA OA p + · ·
cos sin
lengthof
inclination of
perpendicular perpendicular
x y p ⇒ α+ α ·
! "
: Normal form
Thus, we now know of three forms in which the equation of an arbitrary straight line can be written.
From those three forms, you might be able to deduce that the most general form for the equation of an
arbitrary straight line is 0 Ax By C + + · . Let us try to prove this assertion, that is, let us try to show that
Ax + By + C = 0 represents the equation of a straight line.
For this purpose, it will suffice to show that if we take any three arbitrary points ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2
, , , x y x y and
( )
3 3
, x y on the curve 0, Ax By C + + · these three points will turn out to be collinear. Equivalently, the
area of the triangle with the vertices as these three points will turn out to be zero.
Since all the three points satisfy the equation 0, Ax By C + + · we have
1 1
0 Ax By C + + ·
2 2
0 Ax By C + + ·
3 3
0 Ax By C + + ·
We can eliminate A, B and C from these three equations simultaneously to obtain a relation involving only
the coordinates of the three points. A basic knowledge of elimination in determinant form will tell you that
the relation we’ll get after elimination is
1 1
2 2
3 3
1
1 0
1
x y
x y
x y
·
which means that the area of the triangle formed by these three points as vertices is zero! Hence, the
assertion is true.
With this discussion in mind, you should be able to write the equation for any arbitrary straight line. We will
encounter the use of all these forms in the coming examples.
Before concluding this article, do this as a simple exercise based on the discussion we've already done:
(a) Show that the equation of the straight line with slope m and passing through the fixed point (x
1
, y
1
)
is ( )
1 1
y y m x x − · −
(b) Show that the equation of the straight line passing through the two fixed points ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2
, and , x y x y
is
1 2 1
1 2 1
y y y y
x x x x
− −
·
− −
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The following table summarizes the various forms of the straight line that we've encountered.
Known parameters about the line Equation Name of this form
1.
Slope m
yintercept c
y = mx + c Slopeintercept form
2.
x intercept a
y intercept b
1
x y
a b
+ = Intercept form
3.
Length of perpendicular
from origin to the line : p
Inclination of perpendicular : α
cos sin x y p α+ α = Normal form
4.
Slope : m
Any point through
which the line passes : ( )
1 1
, x y
( )
1 1
y y m x x − = − Pointslope form
5.
Any two points through : ( )
1 1
, x y
which the line passes : ( )
2 2
, x y
1 2 1
1 2 1
y y y y
x x x x
− −
=
− −
Two point form
Most general form : Ax + By + C = 0 where , , A B C∈#
and at least one of
A, B is nonzero
Note that each of the five specific forms mentioned in the table above can be converted easily to the most
general form of the equation of a line. You are urged to do this as an exercise.
Also, the five forms are inter convertible among themselves in most cases too. For example, y = mx + c
can be written in intercept form as
( )
1
/
x y
c m c
+ ·
−
so that the xintercept of this line is
c
a
m
· − and the
yintercept is b = c. You are urged to try out all the (possible) conversions from one form to another.
You should now be able to understand that to determine a straight line uniquely, we must have two
quantities given. Thus, two points could uniquely fix a line, or a point on the line and its slope could do so
too, and so on. Notice that the general equation of the line also in fact contains only two arbitrary
constants:
0 Ax By C + + ·
1 0
A B
x y
C C
 `  `
⇒ + + ·
. , . ,
1 0 Px Qy ⇒ + + ·
contains only two
arbitrary constants
¹ ¹
' '
¹ ¹
Art 5 Point of intersection ; Angle of intersection
We are given two lines L
1
and L
2
, and we are required to find the point at which they intersect (if they are
nonparallel) and the angle at which they are inclined to one another, i.e., the angle of intersection.
Evaluating the point of intersection is a simple matter of solving two simultaneous linear equations. Let the
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Maths / Straight Lines
equations of the two lines be
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
L 0 and 0 a x b y c L a x b y c ≡ + + · ≡ + + · (written in the most
general form). Now, let the point of intersection be (x
1
, y
1
). Thus,
1 1 1 1 1
0 a x b y c + + ·
2 1 2 1 2
0 a x b y c + + ·
This system can be solved to get
1 1
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
1 x y
b c b c c a c a a b a b
· ·
− − −
From this relation we obtain the point of intersection ( )
1 1
, as x y
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
,
b c b c c a c c
a b a b a b a b
 ` − −
− −
. ,
: Point of intersection
To obtain the angle of intersection between these two lines, consider the figure below:
y
θ
θ
2 θ
1
x
L = a x + b y + c = 0
2 2 2 2
L = a x + b y + c = 0
1 1 1 1
Note that
θ θ − θ =
2 1
Fig  15
The equation of the two lines in slopeintercept form are
1 1 1 1
1 1 1
1 1 1 1
where
a c c a
y x m x m
b b b b
 `  `  `
· − + · + · −
. , . , . ,
and
2 2 2 2
2 2 2
2 2 2 2
where
a c c a
y x m x m
b b b b
 `  `  `
· − + · + · −
. , . , . ,
Note in Fig  15 that
2 1
θ · θ −θ and thus
( )
2 1
tan tan θ · θ −θ
2 1
1 2
tan tan
1 tan tan
θ − θ
·
+ θ θ
2 1
1 2
1
m m
m m
−
·
+
... (1)
Conventionally, we would be interested only in the acute angle between the two lines and thus we have to
have
tanθ
as a positive quantity. So in (1) above, if the expression
2 1
1 2
1
m m
m m
−
+
turns out to be negative, this
would be the tangent of the obtuse angle between the two lines; thus, to get the acute angle between the
two lines, we use the magnitude of this expression.
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 16
Maths / Straight Lines
Therefore, the acute angle
θ
between the two lines is
1 2 1
1 2
tan
1
m m
m m
−
−
θ ·
+
: Acute angle between the two lines
From this relation, we can easily deduce the conditions on m
1
and m
2
such that the two lines L
1
and L
2
are
parallel or perpendicular.
If the lines are parallel,
0 θ ·
so that
1 2
m m · which is intuitively obvious since parallel lines must have the
same slope. For the two lines to be perpendicular,
2
π
θ ·
so that cot 0; θ · this can happen if
1 2
1 0 mm + ·
or
1 2
1. mm · − Thus,
1 2
: for parallel lines m m ·
and
1 2
1 : for perpendicular lines m m · −
If the lines L
1
and L
2
are given in the general form given in the general form 0, ax by c + + · the slope of
this line is
a
m
b
· − so that the condition for L
1
and L
2
to be parallel becomes
1 2
1 2 2 1
1 2
or
a a
a b a b
b b
− · − ·
and the condition for L
1
and L
2
to be perpendicular becomes
1 2
1 2
1
a a
b b
· − or
1 2 1 2
0 a a bb + · .
For example, the line
1
1 L x y ≡ + · is perpendicular to the line
2
1 L x y ≡ − · because the slope of
1
L
is –1 while the slope of L
2
is 1.
L = x  y = 1
2
y
x
L = x + y = 1
1
Fig  16
As another example, the line
1
2 1 0 L x y ≡ − + · is parallel to the line
2
2 3 0 L x y ≡ − − · because the
slope of both the lines is
1
.
2
m ·
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 17
Maths / Straight Lines
Find the equation to the straight line which passes through (3, –2) and is inclined at 60º to the line
3 1. x y + ·
Solution: Observe carefully that there will be two such lines. Denote the two lines by
1 2
and L L
L
1
Fig  17
60º
(3, 2)
L
2
60º
3x+y = 1
Let the slope of the line(s) we require be m.
The slope of 3 1 x y + · is
1
3 m · −
Since we want the acute angle between the two lines to be 60º, we must have by Art  5,
1
1
tan60º
1
m m
mm
−
·
+
3
3
1 3
m
m
− −
⇒ ·
−
3
3
1 3
m
m
+
⇒ · t
−
3 3 3 or 3 3 3 m m m m ⇒ + · − + · −
0 or 3 m m ⇒ · ·
Since we get two values of m, this confirms our earlier assertion that two such lines will exist. We now
have the slope. We also know that the lines pass through (3, –2). We can therefore use the pointslope
form to write down the required equations:
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
1 2
2 0 3 ; 2 3 3 L y x L y x ≡ − − · − ≡ − − · −
1 2
2 0 and 3 2 3 3 0 L y L y x ⇒ ≡ + · ≡ − + + ·
Find the equation of the straight line which passes through the point ( )
3 3
cos , sin a a θ θ and is perpendicular to
the straight line sec cosec x y a θ+ θ · .
Example – 5
Example – 6
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 18
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: The slope of the given line is
1
sec
tan
cosec
m
θ
· − · − θ
θ
Therefore, the slope of the line we require will be given by m
2
where
2
1
1
m
m
· −
2
cot m ⇒ · θ
We now know the slope of the line and we are also given a fixed point through which the line passes.
We can therefore use the pointslope form to determine its equation:
( )
3 3
sin cot cos y a x a − θ · θ − θ
( )
4 4
cos sin sin cos x y a ⇒ θ− θ · − θ+ θ
( )( )
2 2 2 2
cos sin cos sin a · θ + θ θ− θ
cos 2 a · θ
Thus, the required equation is
cos sin cos 2 x y a θ − θ · θ
____________________________________________________________________________________
Art 6 Halfplanes
Any straight line divides the Euclidean plane into two half planes. In this article, we wish to determine the
halfplane in which an arbitrary point lies with respect to a given line.
Let the equation of the given line be 0. ax by c + + · Consider two points ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2
, and , x y x y that lie in
different halfplanes with respect to this line:
Halfplane B
(x , y )
2 2
(x , y' )
2 2
(x , y' )
1 1
(x , y )
1 1
Halfplane A
ax + by + c = 0
Q
P
Fig  18
y
x
The point ( )
1 1
, x y lies in the lower halfplane while ( )
2 2
, x y lies in the upper half plane. We require a
condition on these coordinates which must be satisfied if the points lie in opposite halfplanes. In Fig  18,
we have dropped verticle line segments from ( ) ( )
1 1 2 2
, and x y x y to the given line, intersecting it in P and
Q respectively.
The coordinates of P and Q are
1 1
'
( , ) x y and
2 2
'
( , ) x y respectively where
1 1 2 2
'
'
and y y y y ≠ ≠ .
Since P, Q lie on the given line, their coordinates must satisfy the equation of the line. Thus,
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 19
Maths / Straight Lines
( )
1
1 1 1
0
ax c
ax by c y
b
+
+ + · ⇒ · −
' '
and
( )
2
2 2 2
0
ax c
ax by c y
b
+
+ + · ⇒ · −
' '
Now, from Fig  18 we have
1 1
y y <
'
and
2 2
y y >
'
( )
1
1
ax c
y
b
+
⇒ < − and
( )
2
2
ax c
y
b
+
> −
1 1
0
ax by c
b
+ +
⇒ <
and
2 2
0
ax by c
b
+ +
>
1 1
ax by c ⇒ + + and
2 2
ax by c + + are of opposite signs.
This is the required condition. Translated into words, it says that for two points lying in opposite
halfplanes, their coordinates when substituted respectively into the equation of the line must give
expressions of opposite signs. (For two points in the same halfplane, the signs would be the same).
As a corollary, observe that a point (x
1
, y
1
) lies in the same half–plane or opposite half–plane in which the
origin lies accordingly as ( )
1 1
ax by c + + and c are of the same sign or opposite signs respectively.
Art 7 Length of perpendicular
Suppose that we are given the equation of a line L and we are required to find the length of the
perpendicular dropped from an arbitrary point ( )
1 1
, on . P x y L
Suppose that the equation of L is in normal form, i.e, cos sin . L x y p ≡ α + α ·
Fig  19
y
x
R
P (x , y )
1 1
L = x cos + y sin  p = 0 α α
α
p
S
Q
O L'
We are required to find
PQ. Note that
PQ = OR  OS
= OR  p
To determine OR, we
draw a line L' parallel to
L through P (x , y )
Let OR = p
1 1
1
Based on the discussion in the figure above, the equation of the line
1
is cos sin 0. L x y p α+ α− ·
'
Since L
1
passes through P, the coordinates of P must satisfy the equation of L
1
. Thus,
1 1 1
cos sin 0 x y p α+ α− ·
Thus, we get
1
p as ( )
1 1
cos sin . x y α+ α The length of perpendicular PQ is now simply
1 1 1
cos sin p p x y p − · α+ α− . (Modulus sign is used since PQ is a length so it must be positive).
1 1
cos sin PQ x y p · α+ α− : Length of perpendicular
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 20
Maths / Straight Lines
Let us now assume the case where L is given in the general form, i.e. 0. L ax by c ≡ + + ·
We can easily adjust the equation of L so that c is negative. We do this so that we can convert L into the
normal form:
0 ax by c + + · c < 0
ax by c ⇒ + · −
2 2 2 2 2 2
a b c
x y
a b a b a b
 `  `  `
−
⇒ + ·
+ + +
. , . , . ,
cos sin x y p ⇒ α + α · ... (1)
where
2 2 2 2 2
cos , sin and
a b c
p
a b a b a b
2
−
α · α · ·
+ + +
The equation in (1) is in the normal form; we can now use the result obtained in the preceding discussion
to obtain the length of the perpendicular PQ:
1 1
cos sin PQ x y p · α+ α−
Modulus sign is
used since
must be +ve
PQ
¹ ¹
¹ ¹
' '
¹ ¹
¹ ¹
1 1
2 2 2 2 2 2
ax by c
a b a b a b
· + +
+ + +
1 1
2 2
ax by c
PQ
a b
+ +
·
+
: Length of perpendicular
Find the distance between two parallel lines
1 2
L and L given by
1 1
0 L ax by c ≡ + + · and
2 2
0 L ax by c ≡ + + ·
Solution:
L
1
L
2
P(x , y )
1 1
d
Assume any point P
on the line L ; we are
required to find d
1
Fig  20
Since P lies on L
1
, we have
1 1 1
0 ax by c + + ·
1 1 1
ax by c ⇒ + · −
1 1 2 2 1
ax by c c c ⇒ + + · − ... (1)
Example – 7
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 21
Maths / Straight Lines
By the previous article, the length of the perpendicular dropped from P upon the line L
2
is
1 1 2
2 2
ax by c
d
a b
+ +
·
+
1 2
2 2
c c
a b
−
·
+
(By (1) above)
This is the required distance between the two lines
If p and p' be the perpendiculars from the origin upon the lines
1
sec cosec 0 L x y a ≡ θ+ θ− · and
2
cos sin cos 2 0, L x y a ≡ θ− θ− θ · show that
2 2 2
4 ' p p a + ·
Solution: The length of the perpendicular dropped from (0, 0) to L
1
is by Art  7
2 2
sec cosec
a
p ·
θ+ θ
sin cos a · θ θ ... (1)
Similarly, p', the length of the perpendicular from (0, 0) to L
2
is
2 2
cos 2
'
cos sin
a
p
θ
·
θ+ θ
cos 2 a · θ ... (2)
We now have from (1) and (2)
2 ' 2 2 2 2 2
4 4 sin cos 2 p p a a + · θ + θ
2 2 2 2
sin 2 cos 2 a a · θ + θ
2
a ·
____________________________________________________________________________________
Art 8 Concurrency
Consider three different straight lines L
1
, L
2
and L
3
:
1 1 1 1
0 L a x b y c ≡ + + · ... (1)
2 2 2 2
0 L a x b y c ≡ + + · ... (2)
3 3 3 3
0 L a x b y c ≡ + + · ... (3)
We need to evaluate the constraint on the coefficients , and
i i i
a s b s c s
' ' '
such that the three lines are
concurrent.
Let us first determine the point P of intersection of L
1
and L
2
. By Art  5, it will be
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
,
b c b c c a c a
P
a b a b a b a b
− −
≡
− −
Example – 8
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 22
Maths / Straight Lines
Thus three lines will be concurrent if L
3
passes through P too, that is P satisfies the equation of L
3
. Thus,
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
3 3 3
1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1
0
b c b c c a c a
a b c
a b a b a b a b
 `  ` − −
+ + ·
− −
. , . ,
( ) ( ) ( )
3 1 2 2 1 3 1 2 2 1 3 1 2 2 1
0 a b c b c b c a c a c a b a b ⇒ − + − + − ·
( ) ( ) ( )
1 2 3 3 2 1 2 3 3 2 1 2 3 3 2
0 a b c b c b c a c a c a b a b ⇒ − + − + − ·
This relation can be written compactly in determinant form as
1 1 1
2 2 2
3 3 3
0
a b c
a b c
a b c
·
This is the condition that must be satisfied for the three lines to be concurrent.
For example, consider the three lines 2 3 5 0, x y − + · 3 4 7 0 x y + − · and 9 5 8 0 x y − + · . These three
lines are concurrent because the determinant of the coefficients is 0, i.e,
2 3 5
3 4 7 0
9 5 8
−
− ·
−
Prove that the three lines L
1
, L
2
and L
3
whose equations have been mentioned in the preceeding discussion, are
concurrent if we can find three constants
1 2 3
, and λ λ λ such that
1 1 2 2 3 3
0 L L L λ + λ + λ ·
Solution: Assume that L
1
and L
2
intersect at the point P whose coordinates are (x
0
, y
0
) P should satisfy the
equations of both L
1
and L
2
.
( )
1 1 0 1 0 1
at 0 L P a x b y c ≡ + + · ... (1)
( )
2 2 0 2 0 2
at 0 L P a x b y c ≡ + + · ... (2)
Now assume that we can find three nonzero constants
1 2 3
, and λ λ λ such that
1 1 2 2 3 3
0 L L L λ + λ + λ · . We will prove that due to this condition, L
3
will definitely have to pass
through P:
1 1 2 2 3 3
0 L L L λ + λ + λ ·
1 2
3 1 2
3 3
L L L
 `  ` λ λ
⇒ · − + −
λ λ
. , . ,
If we evaluate the value of L
3
at P, we get
( ) ( ) ( )
1 2
3 1 2
3 3
at at at L P L P L P
 `  ` λ λ
· − × + − ×
λ λ
. , . ,
1 2
3 3
0 0
 `  ` λ λ
· − × + − ×
λ λ
. , . ,
( )
( )
By 1
and 2
¹ ¹
¹ ¹
' '
¹ ¹
¹ ¹
= 0
Since the value of L
3
is 0 at P, the line L
3
must pass through P. Thus, L
1
, L
2
and L
3
are concurrent.
Example – 9
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 23
Maths / Straight Lines
Show that the medians of a triangle are concurrent.
Solution: Let the triangle have the vertices ( )
1 1
, A x y , ( ) ( )
2 2 3 3
, and , B x y C x y as in the figure below:
A(x , y )
1 1
B(x , y )
2 2
C(x , y )
3 3
Let D, E, F be the midpoints
of BC, CA and AB respectively.
The coordinates of any mid
point can easily be evaluated
by the section formula. For eg,
the coordinates of D are
2 3 2 3
,
2 2
x x y y + +  

\ .
Fig  21
E
D
F
From the twopoint form of the equation of a line, we can write down the equations of AD, BE and
CF.
The equation L
1
of the median AD is:
2 3
1
1
1
2 3
1
1
2
2
y y
y
y y
L
x x
x x
x
+
−
−
≡ ·
+
−
−
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
1 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 1 2 3
2 2 2 L y y y x x x x y x y y y ⇒ ≡ − + − − + · − + ( ) ( )
1 1 2 3
2 y x x x − − +
By symmetry, we can write down the corresponding equations L
2
and L
3
of the medians BE and CF.
Observe carefully that when we subsequently add the three equations L
1
, L
2
and L
3
, their left hand
sides sum to 0. Thus, we have found three constants 1, 1 and 1 such that
1 2 3
1 1 1 0 L L L ⋅ + ⋅ + ⋅ ·
1 2 3
, and L L L ⇒ are concurrent
⇒ The medians of any triangle are concurrent.
Show that the equation of any line passing through the intersection point P of two given lines whose equations
are L
1
and L
2
, can be expressed as
1 2
0, where L L +λ · λ is a real parameter.
Solution: Let
1 1 1 1
0 L a x b y c ≡ + + · and
2 2 2 2
0 L a x b y c ≡ + + ·
Consider the equation
1 2
0 L L +λ · ... (1)
( )
1 1 1 2 2 2
0 a x b y c a x b y c ⇒ + + +λ + + ·
( ) ( ) ( )
1 2 1 2 1 2
0 a a x b b y c c ⇒ +λ + +λ + +λ ·
Example – 10
Example – 11
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 24
Maths / Straight Lines
This is definitely the equation of a straight line because it is of the form 0. ax by c + + · Also, notice in
addition that the intersection point P will satisfy this equation, because if we substitute the coordinates
of the intersection point P in (1), both L
1
and L
2
vanish.
Thus,
1 2
0 L L +λ · is the equation of an arbitrary straight line that passes through the intersection
point P of L
1
and L
2
. (As we vary
λ
, the slope of this line will vary but it will always pass through P).
L + L = 0
1 2
λ
P
L = 0
2
L = 0
1
The equation of line
passing through P can be
written as
L + L = 0
where is a real
parameter
any
1 2
λ
λ
Fig  22
This result is very beneficial in certain cases. We’ll see such cases in some subsequent examples
Find the equations to the straight lines passing through
(a) (3, 2) and the point of intersection of 2 3 1 x y + · and 3 4 6 x y − ·
(b) Origin and the point of intersection of
1 and 1
x y x y
a b b a
+ · + ·
.
Solution: (a) The equations of the two given lines in standard form are :
1
2 3 1 0 L x y ≡ + − ·
2
3 4 6 0 L x y ≡ − − ·
Any line passing through the intersection point of L
1
and L
2
is
1 2
0 L L λ + ·
⇒ (2 3 1) (3 4 6) 0 x y x y λ + − + − − ·
⇒ (2 3 ) (3 4 ) (1 6 ) 0 x y λ λ λ + + − − + · ... (1)
We want this line to pass through (3, 2). Therefore (3, 2) must satisfy the equation of this line, i.e.
(2 3 )3 (3 4 )2 (1 6 ) 0 λ λ λ + + − − + ·
⇒
5 11 0 λ − + ·
⇒
11
5
λ ·
Example – 12
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 25
Maths / Straight Lines
We substitute
11
5
λ · in (1) to get the required equation:
11 11 11
(2 2 ) (3 4 ) (1 6 ) 0
5 5 5
x y + ⋅ + − ⋅ − + ⋅ ·
⇒ 43 29 71 0 x y − − ·
(b) We follow the same procedure as in part (a)
1
: 0 L bx ay ab + − ·
2
: 0 L ax by ab + − ·
The equation of any line passing through the intersection point of L
1
and L
2
is
1 2
0 L L λ + ·
⇒ ( ) ( ) (1 ) 0 b a x a b y ab λ λ λ + + + − + · ... (2)
Since this line must pass through (0, 0), we substitute (0, 0) into (2) to get
(1 ) 0 ab λ + ·
⇒
1 λ · −
We substitute
1 λ · −
into (2) to get the required equation :
( ) ( ) 0 b a x a b y − + − ·
⇒ 0 x y − ·
____________________________________________________________________________________
Art 9 Angle Bisectors
Consider two straight lines L
1
and L
2
with the equations
1 1 1 1
: 0 L a x b y c + + ·
2 2 2 2
: 0 L a x b y c + + ·
We intend to find the angle bisector formed at the intersection point P of L
1
and L
2
. Note that there will be
two such angle bisectors
A
2
y
x
L
2
A
2
L
1
We denote the
two angle bisectors
by A and A
1 2
Fig  23
P
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 26
Maths / Straight Lines
To write down the equations of the two angle bisectors, we first modify the equations of L
1
and L
2
so that
c
1
and c
2
are say, both negative in sign. This can always be done. Why this is done will soon become clear.
We first write down the equation of A
1
, the angle bisector of the angle in which the origin lies.
By virtue of being an angle bisector, if any point ( , ) P x y ′ ′ lies on A
1
, the distance of P from L
1
and L
2
must
be equal. Using the perpendicular distance formula of Art 7, we have
⇒
1 1 1 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
a x b y c a x b y c
a b a b
′ ′ ′ ′ + + + +
·
+ +
⇒
1 1 1 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
a x b y c a x b y c
a b a b
′ ′ ′ ′ + + + +
· t
+ +
...(1)
Which sign should we select, “+” or “–”, for the bisector of the angle containing the origin?
Since P and origin lie on the same side of L
1
,
1 1 1
a x b y c ′ ′ + + and c
1
must be of the same sign by Art  6.
Similarly,
2 2 2
a x b y c ′ ′ + + and c
2
must be of the same sign. But since we have already arranged c
1
and c
2
to be of the same sign (both negative), we must have ( )
1 1 1
a x b y c ′ ′ + + and ( )
2 2 2
a x b y c ′ ′ + + also of the
same sign.
Thus, it follows from (1) that to write the equation of the angle bisector of the angle containing the origin,
we must select the “+” sign since ( )
1 1 1
a x b y c ′ ′ + + and ( )
2 2 2
a x b y c ′ ′ + + are of the same sign. The “–”
sign gives the angle bisector of the angle not containing the origin, i.e., the equation of A
2
.
To summarize, we first arrange the equations of L
1
and L
2
so that c
1
and c
2
are both of the same sign.
Subsequently, using the property of any angle bisector, we obtain
1 1 1 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
:
a x b y c a x b y c
a b a b
+ + + +
· +
+ +
Angle bisector of angle
contaning the origin
and
1 1 1 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
:
a x b y c a x b y c
a b a b
+ + + +
· −
+ +
Angle bisector of angle not
contaning the origin
Find the angle bisector of the angle between the straight lines
1 2
: 3 4 7 0 and :12 5 8 0 L x y L x y − + · − − · which
contains the origin.
Example – 13
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 27
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: Following the discussion of the preceeding article, we first modify the equations L
1
and L
2
so that the
constant terms in both the equations are of the same sign (say both positive):
1
: 3 4 7 0 L x y − + ·
2
: 12 5 8 0 L x y − + + ·
The angle bisector of the angle containing the origin is
2 2 2 2
(3 4 7) ( 12 5 8)
3 4 12 5
x y x y − + − + +
· +
+ +
⇒ 99 77 51 x y − + = 0
Evaluating the other angle bisector is left to the reader as an exercise.
Find the bisector of the angle between the lines 2 11 0 x y + − · and 3 6 5 0 x y − − · which contains the
point (1, –3).
Solution: Again we first arrange the equations of the two lines such that constant terms are positive
1
: 2 11 0 L x y − − + ·
2
: 3 6 5 0 L x y − + + ·
Note that
1 1
(at origin) 0 and (at(1, 3)) 0 L L > − >
⇒ Origin and (1, –3) are on the same side of L
1
.
2 2
(at origin) 0 and (at(1, 3)) 0 L L > − <
⇒ Origin and (1, –3) are on the opposite sides of L
2
.
This means that the point (1, –3) does not lie in the same region as the origin, since (1, –3) must be on
the opposite side of the origin with respect to L
2
.The example figure below will make this clear:
L
1
L
2
(1, 3 )
Origin
Fig  24
We see that (1, 3) lies in
the angle not containing
the origin
Example – 14
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 28
Maths / Straight Lines
Thus, it is clear that (1, –3) lies in the angle not containing the origin.
L
1
L
2
Origin
Fig  25
P (x, y)
There is one point worth mentioning here. If suppose a point
P (x, y) lies on the opposite side of the origin with respect to
both L and L , it would lie in the vertically opposite angle to
the angle in which the origin lies ; in such a case, the angle
bisector of the angle containing P is the same as that of the
one containing the origin.
1 2
To determine the angle bisector of the angle containing (1, –3), we simply determine the angle bisector
of the angle not containing the origin, i.e.
2 11 3 6 5
5 3 5
x y x y − − + − + +
· −
⇒
6 5 38 5 x ·
⇒
19
3
x ·
Note that to determine the angle bisector of the angle containing the point P as in Fig.25, we would
have chosen the angle bisector of the angle containing the origin.
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 29
Maths / Straight Lines
Art 10 Polar / Distanceform of a line
Sometimes, it is very convenient to write the equation of a straight line in polar / distance form.
Suppose we know that the line passes through the fixed point ( , ) P h k and is at an inclination of : θ
Let PQ = r
y
x
P h, k ( )
θ
Fig  26
r
Q x, y ( )
For any point ( , ) Q x y at a distance r from P along this line, we can write the simple relation
cos sin
x h y k
r
− −
· ·
θ θ
This is the required equation of the line. The point ( , ), Q x y at a distance r from P, has the coordinates
( , ) ( cos , sin ). Q x y h r k r ≡ + θ + θ
Obviously, there will be another point, say ( , ), at a distance from
along this line but on the opposite side of ; thus ( , ) will have the
coordinates ( , ) ( cos , sin )
Q x y r P
Q Q x y
Q x y h r k r
′
¹ ¹
¹ ¹
′
' '
¹ ¹
′ ≡ − θ − θ
¹ ¹
A line through ( 5, 4) A − − meets the lines 3 2, 2 4 0 x y x y + · + + · and 5 0 x y − − · at the points B, C and D
respectively. If
2 2 2
15 10 6
AB AC AD
 `  `  `
+ ·
. , . , . ,
,
find the equation of the line.
Example – 15
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 30
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution:
We want to
find the equation
of the line .
Assume
L
AB = r
1
AC = r
AD = r
2
3
x  y  5 = 0
Fig  27
x + y 3 = 2
2 4 = 0 x + y +
D
A
(5,4)
C
B
L = 0
The figure above roughly sketches the situation described in the equation. Let B, C and D be at
distances
1 2
, r r and
3
r from A along the line 0, L · whose equation we wish to determine. Assume the
inclination of L to be
. θ
Thus, B, C and D have the coordinates (respectively):
1 1
( 5 cos , 4 sin ) B r r ≡ − + θ − + θ
2 2
( 5 cos , 4 sin ) C r r ≡ − + θ − + θ
3 3
( 5 cos , 4 sin ) D r r ≡ − + θ − + θ
Since these three points(respectively) satisfy the three given equations, we have :
Point B :
1 1 1
15
( 5 cos ) 3( 4 sin ) 2 0
cos 3sin
r r r − + θ + − + θ + · ⇒ ·
θ+ θ
Point C :
2 2 2
10
2( 5 cos ) ( 4 sin ) 4 0
2cos sin
r r r − + θ + − + θ + · ⇒ ·
θ+ θ
Point D :
3 3 3
6
( 5 cos ) ( 4 sin ) 5 0
cos sin
r r r − + θ − − + θ − · ⇒ ·
θ− θ
It is given that
2 2 2
15 10 6
AB AC AD
 `  `  `
+ ·
. , . , . ,
i.e.
2 2 2
1 2 3
15 10 6
r r r
 `  `  `
+ ·
. , . , . ,
2 2 2
(cos 3sin ) (2cos sin ) (cos sin ) ⇒ θ+ θ + θ+ θ · θ − θ
2 2
4cos 9sin 12sin cos 0 ⇒ θ + θ + θ θ ·
2
(2cos 3sin ) 0 ⇒ θ + θ ·
2
tan
3
−
⇒ θ ·
2
3
m
−
⇒ ·
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 31
Maths / Straight Lines
Thus, we obtain the slope of L as
2
.
3
−
The equation of L can now be easily written :
2
: ( 4) ( ( 5))
3
L y x
−
− − · − −
: 2 3 22 0 L x y ⇒ + + ·
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 32
Maths / Straight Lines
1. A variable straight line drawn through the intersection of the lines
1
x y
a b
+ ·
and
1
x y
b a
+ ·
meets the
axes in A and B. Show that the locus of the midpoint of AB is 2 ( ) ( ) xy a b ab x y + · +
2. The line bx ay ab + · cuts the axes in A and B. Another variable line cuts the axes in C and D such
that , OA OB OC OD + · + where O is the origin. Prove that the locus of the point of intersection of
the lines AD and BC is the line . x y a b + · +
3. A point P moves so that the square of its distance from (3, –2) is equal to its distance from the line
5 12 13. x y − · Find the locus of P.
4. A line intersects the xaxis in A(7, 0) and the yaxis in B(0, –5). A variable line perpendicular to AB
intersects the xaxis in P and the yaxis in Q. If AQ and BP intersect in R, find the locus of R.
5. If the sum of the distances of a point from two perpendicular lines in a plane is 1, prove that its locus
is a square.
6. A vertex of an equilateral triangle is (2, 3) and the opposite side is 2. x y + · Find the equations of the
other sides.
7. A ray of light along the line 2 3 0 x y − − · is incident upon the mirrorline 3 2 5 0. x y − − · Find the
equation of the reflected ray.
8. If the vertices of a triangle have integral coordinates, show that it cannot be equilateral.
9. Show using coordinate geometry that the angle bisectors of the sides of a triangle are concurrent.
10. The sides of a triangle are 4 3 7 0, 5 12 27 0 x y x y + + · + − · and 3 4 8 0. x y + + · By explicitly
evaluating the medians in this triangle, show that they are concurrent.
11. A rod APB of constant length meets the axes in A and B. If AP = b and PB = a and the rod slides
between the axes, show that the locus of P is
2 2 2 2 2 2
b x a y a b + ·
12. If p is the length of the perpendicular from the origin to the line whose intercepts on the axes are a and
b, show that
2 2 2
1 1 1
.
p a b
· +
13. The lines 3 4 8 0 x y + − · and 5 12 3 0 x y + + · intersect in A. Find the equations of the lines passing
through (3, 4), P which intersect the given lines at B and C, such that
. AB AC ·
14. The equal sides AB and AC of an isosceles triangle ABC are produced to the points P and Q such that
2
. BP CQ AB ⋅ · Prove that the line PQ always passes through a fixed point.
15. One side of a square is inclined to the xaxis at an angle α and one of its extremities is at the origin;
prove that the equations to its diagonals are
(cos sin ) (sin cos ) y x α− α · α+ α
and (sin cos ) (cos sin ) y x a α + α + α − α ·
where a is the length of the side of the sqaure.
TRY YOURSELF  I
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 33
Maths / Straight Lines
Consider two lines
1 1 1
0 L y m x c ≡ − − ·
2 2 2
0 L y m x c ≡ − − ·
What do you think will
1 2
0 L L · represent ? It is obvious that any point lying on L
1
and L
2
will satisfy
1 2
0, L L ·
and thus
1 2
0 L L · represents the set of points constituting both the lines, i.e.,
1 2 1 2
0 represents the pair of straight lines given by 0 and 0 L L L L · · ·
For example, consider the equation
2 2
0. y x − · What does this represent ? We have
2 2
0 y x − · ...(1)
( )( ) 0 y x y x ⇒ + − ·
⇒ (1) represents the pair of straight lines x y · and 0. x y + ·
y
x
x = y
The pair of lines given
by 0 y  x =
2 2
x + y = 0
Fig  28
There is nothing special about considering a pair. We can similarly define the joint equation of n straight lines
0 ( 1, 2..., )
i i i
L y m x c i n ≡ − − · · as
1 2
... 0
n
L L L ·
1 1 2 2
( )( )...( ) 0
n n
y m x c y m x c y m x c ⇒ − − − − − − · ...(2)
Any point lying on any of these n straight lines will satisfy (2), and thus (2) represents the set of all points constituting
the n lines, i.e. (2) represents the joint equation of the n straight lines.
What is relevant to us at this stage is only a pair of straight lines and it is on a pair of lines that we now focus our
attention.
Section  3 PAIR OF STRAIGHT LINES
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 34
Maths / Straight Lines
PAIR OF LINES PASSING THROUGH THE ORIGIN
We first consider a special (and simple)case. Both the lines in our pair pass through the origin. Thus, their equations
can be written as
1 1
: 0 L y m x − ·
2 2
: 0 L y m x − ·
y
L
1
Pair of lines passing through
the origin with slopes
tan m =
1 1
θ
m =
2 2
tan θ
Fig  29
θ
1
θ
2
θ
L
2
O
x
The joint equation of this pair is :
1 2
0 L L ·
1 2
( )( ) 0 y m x y m x ⇒ − − ·
2 2
1 2 1 2
( ) 0 y mm x m m xy ⇒ + − + · ...(3)
(3) suggests that the general equation of a pair of straight lines passing through the origin is
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + · ...(4)
(4) is a homogenous equation of degree 2, implying that the degree of each term is 2.
It should now be apparent that any homogenous equation of degree 2 will represent two straight lines passing
through the origin (we’ll soon see that the two straight lines might be imaginary; the meaning of this will become
clear in a subsequent example).
Generalising, any n
th
degree homogenous equation of the form
1 2 2
0 1 2
... 0
n n n n
n
a x a x y a x y a y
− −
+ + + + · ...(5)
represents n straight lines (real or imaginary) passing through the origin. To obtain the slopes of these n lines, we
divide by
n
x
in (5) and substitute
:
y
m
x
·
1
1 0
... 0
n n
n n
a m a m a
−
−
+ + + ·
The n values of m gives us the slopes of the n lines.
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 35
Maths / Straight Lines
Find the straight lines represented by
(a)
2 2
5 6 0 y xy x − + ·
(b)
2 2
3 10 3 0 y xy x − + ·
(c)
2 2
0 y xy x + + ·
Solution: Note that the homogenous nature of these equations tells us that the lines will pass through the origin.
(a)
2 2
5 6 0 y xy x − + ·
We either factorize this equation straightaway :
( 2 )( 3 ) 0 y x y x − − ·
so that the lines are
2 y x · and 3 y x ·
OR,
we divide it by
2
x
and substitute
y
m
x
·
to obtain :
2
5 6 0 m m − + ·
2, 3 m ⇒ ·
2, 3
y
x
⇒ ·
2 y x ⇒ · or 3 y x ·
Both alternatives are entirely equivalent.
(b)
2 2
3 10 3 0 y xy x − + ·
2
3 10 3 0 m m ⇒ − + ·
y
m
x
 `
·
. ,
1
3,
3
m ⇒ ·
3 ,
3
x
y x y ⇒ · ·
Example – 16
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 36
Maths / Straight Lines
(c)
2 2
0 y xy x + + ·
2
1 0 m m ⇒ + + ·
Again,
y
m
x
 `
·
. ,
This has no real roots and thus physically, no lines will exist with the joint equation
2 2
0. y xy x + + ·
We sometimes say that this equation represents imaginary lines.
Note that in the entire plane, only (0, 0) satisfies this equation.
____________________________________________________________________________________
Consider now that we’ve been given the equation of a pair of straight lines passing through the origin as :
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + · ...(1)
We wish to determine the angle between these two lines. Let m
1
and m
2
be the slopes of these two lines. By
dividing(1) by x
2
and substituting ,
y
m
x
· we have
2
2 0 bm hm a + + ·
This quadratic in m will have its roots as m
1
and m
2
. Thus,
1 2 1 2
2
;
h a
m m m m
b b
−
+ · ·
...(2)
The angle between the two lines, say , θ is given by
1 2
1 2
tan
1
m m
mm
−
θ ·
+
2
1 2 1 2
1 2
( ) 4
1
m m mm
mm
+ −
·
+
2
2 h ab
a b
−
·
+
(Using (2))
As a consequence of this formula, we see that the lines represented by (1), are :
2
(in fact coincident since both pass through the origin) if
if 0
h ab
a b
·
+ ·
Parallel
Perpendicular
The importance of this condition must be mentioned; it is very widely used and should be committed to memory.
As an example, the locus given by
2 2
3 8 3 0 y xy x − − · ...(3)
represent two perpendicular straight lines since
(3) ( 3) 0 a b + · + − ·
Verify this by the explicit factorization of (3).
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 37
Maths / Straight Lines
Find the equation of the pair of lines through the origin and perpendicular to the pair of lines
2 2
2 0. ax hxy by + + ·
Solution: Let the slopes of the two lines represented by the given equation be m
1
and m
2
. As explained earlier,
m
1
and m
2
are the roots of the quadratic
2
2 0 bm hm a + + ·
so that
1 2 1 2
2
,
h a
m m m m
b b
−
+ · ·
...(1)
The slopes of the lines whose joint equation we require will simply be
1
1
m
−
and
2
1
m
−
so that their
equations will be :
1 2
1 1
, y x y x
m m
− −
· ·
1 2
0, 0 x m y x m y ⇒ + · + ·
The required joint equation is
1 2
( )( ) 0 x m y x m y + + ·
2 2
1 2 1 2
( ) 0 x m m y m m xy ⇒ + + + ·
2 2
2
0
a h
x y xy
b b
⇒ + − ·
(Using (1))
2 2
2 0 bx hxy ay ⇒ − + ·
he equation
3 2 2 3
0 ax bx y cx dy + + + · is a third degree homogenous equation and hence represents three straight
lines passing through the origin. Find the condition so that two of these three lines may be perpendicular.
Solution: We divide the given equation by
3
x
and substitute
y
m
x
·
to obtain:
3 2
0 dm cm bm a + + + ·
...(1)
This has three roots, say
1 2 3
, , , m m m corresponding to the three straight lines. Since we want two of
these lines to be perpendicular, we can assume
1 2
1 mm · −
Example – 17
Example – 18
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 38
Maths / Straight Lines
From (1), we have
1 2 3
a
m m m
d
−
·
3
a
m
d
⇒ ·
Substituting this value of m
3
back in (1), (since m
3
is a root of (1)), we obtain
3 2
3 2
0
da ca ba
a
d d d
+ + + ·
2 2
0 a ac bd d ⇒ + + + ·
Find the area of the triangle formed by the lines
2 2
9 18 0 y xy x − + · and 9. y ·
Solution: The joint equation can be factorized to obtained
( 3 )( 6 ) 0 y x y x − − ·
Thus, the three lines forming the sides of the triangle are
3 , 6 , 9 y x y x y · · ·
The three intersection points can easily be seen to be
3
(0, 0), (3, 9), , 9
2
 `
. ,
Thus, the area of the triangle is
3
0 3
2
1
0 9 9
2
1 1 1
∆ ·
27
sq. units
4
·
The slope of one of the two lines represented by
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + · is the square of the other. Prove that
2
8
6
a b h
h ab
+
+ ·
Example – 19
Example – 20
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 39
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: Let the two slopes be m and m
2
; these are the roots of the quadratic
2
2 0 bM hM a + · ·
so that
2
2
,
h
m m
b
−
+ ·
3
a
m
b
·
Cubing the first relation, we have
3
3 6 3 2
3
8
3 ( )
h
m m m m m
b
−
+ + + ·
2 3
2 3
3 2 8 a a a h h
b b b b b
− −  `
⇒ + + ·
. ,
2 2 3
8 6 ba ab h hab ⇒ + + ·
2
8
6
a b h
h ab
+
⇒ + ·
_____________________________________________________________________________________
GENERAL EQUATION OF A PAIR OF LINES
Consider the equations of two arbitrary lines L
1
and L
2
:
1 1 1 1
: 0 L l x m y n + + ·
2 2 2 2
: 0 L l x m y n + + ·
The joint equation of the two lines is
1 2
0 L L ·
1 1 1 2 2 2
( )( ) 0 l x m y n l x m y n ⇒ + + + + ·
2 2
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) 0 l l x l m ml xy mm y n l n l x n m n m y n n ⇒ + + + + + + + + · ...(1)
(1) suggests that the most general equation to a pair of straight lines has the form
2 2
2 2 2 0 ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + · ...(2)
It might be apparent to you that (2) will not always represent a pair of straight lines. For (2) to indeed represent a
pair of straight lines, it must be able to be factorised into two linear factors; as an exercise for the reader, show that
(2) can be expressed as a product of linear factors if the following condition is satisfied:
2 2 2
2 0 abc fgh af bg ch + − − − ·
0
a h g
h b f
g f c
⇒ ·
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 40
Maths / Straight Lines
We now reevaluate the conditions for parallel and perpendicular lines, in the general case :
Let L
1
and L
2
be two lines with slopes s
1
and s
2
; their equations have already been mentioned above. L
1
and L
2
are
parallel if
1 2
s s ·
1 2
1 2
l l
m m
− −
⇒ ·
1 2 2 1
l m l m ⇒ ·
( )
2
1 2 2 1
0 l m l m ⇒ − ·
( )
2
1 2 2 1 1 2 1 2
4 l m l m l l m m ⇒ + · ...(3)
From (2), observe that the constraint in (3) can be specified as
2
4 4 h ab ·
2
h ab ⇒ ·
: Parallel lines
This is the same condition as the one for the homogenous case.
For L
1
and L
2
to be perpendicular,
1 2
1 s s ⋅ · −
1 2
1 2
1
l l
m m
− −
⇒ ⋅ · −
1 2 1 2
0 l l mm ⇒ + ·
0 a b ⇒ + ·
: Perpendicular lines
Again, this condition is the same as the one in the homogenous case.
If fact, you can verify that the angle
θ
subtended between the two lines is also given by the same formula as in the
homogenous case, i.e.,
2
2
tan
h ab
a b
−
θ ·
+
That these formulae in the homogenous and the general case are the same should be obvious since the slope of any
line is independent of the constant term appearing in its equation.
Prove that the equation
2 2
6 13 6 8 7 2 0 x xy y x y + + + + + · represents a pair of straight lines. Find the point of
intersection and the angle between these two lines.
Example – 21
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 41
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: To show that this equation represents a pair of straight lines, we use the determinant condition mentioned
earlier:
13
6 4
2
13 7
6
2 2
7
4 2
2
a h g
h b f
g f c
·
( )
49 13 91
6 12 14 13 4 24
4 2 4
 `  `
· − + − + −
. , . ,
3 13
5
2 2
· − + −
= 0
which confirms the stated assertion.
The angle between these two lines is given by
2
2
tan
h ab
a b
−
θ ·
+
5
12
·
1
5
tan
12
−
 `
⇒ θ ·
. ,
To find the point of intersection, we must factorise the joint equation to obtain the separate equations
of the lines. This task can be made easy be observing that since the homogenous part of the given
equation is
2 2
6 13 6 0 x xy y + + ·
which can be factorised as
(2 3 )(3 2 ) 0, x y x y + + ·
the actual factors of the (original) equation will be of the form
(2 3 ) (3 2 ) 0 x y x y + + α + +β ·
Convince yourself about this argument. α and β can easily be evaluated using comparison of coefficients
to be 2 and 1 respectively. Thus, the two lines are
1
: 2 3 2 0 L x y + + ·
2
: 3 2 1 0 L x y + + ·
so that their point of intersection is, by solving this system of equations,
1 4
, .
5 5
−  `
. ,
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 42
Maths / Straight Lines
Show that the four lines given by the equations
2 2
3 8 3 0 x xy y + − ·
2 2
3 8 3 2 4 1 0 x xy y x y + − + − − ·
form a square. What is the length of the sides of the square ?
Solution: The first joint equation can be easily factorised to yield
(3 )( 3 ) 0 x y x y − + ·
3 0, 3 0 x y x y ⇒ − · + · ...(1)
These are perpendicular lines intersecting at the origin. As described in the previous example, the
second joint equation can be factorised as
(3 ) ( 3 ) 0 x y x y − + α + +β ·
where α and β can be determined by the comparison of coefficients :
1, 1 α · − β ·
The other two sides are thus
3 1 0, 3 1 0 x y x y − − · + + · ...(2)
From (1) and (2), it should be evident that the four lines form a square. The length l of the sides of this
square can be evaluated by determining the perpendicular distance between any pair of opposite
sides, say 3 0 x y − · and 3 1 0 : x y − − ·
2 2
0 ( 1)
1
10
1 3
l
− −
· ·
+
Find the joint equation of the angle bisectors of the lines represented by
2 2
2 0. ax hxy by + + ·
Solution: Let the slopes of the two lines represented by
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + · be m
1
and m
2
, so that m
1
and m
2
are the roots of the quadratic
2
2 0 bm hm a + + ·
Thus,
1 2 1 2
2
,
h a
m m m m
b b
−
+ · ·
Example – 22
Example – 23
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 43
Maths / Straight Lines
It should be obvious that the angle bisectors will also pass through the origin, as shown below:
A
2
y
x
Fig  30
A
1
L
1
L
2
φ
1 θ
1
θ
2
φ
2
L
1
and are the original
pair of lines while and
are their angle bisectors
= tan
= tan
L
A A
m
m
2
1 2
1 1
2 2
θ
θ
From the figure, observe that
1 2 1 2
1 2
,
2 2
θ + θ π θ + θ
φ · φ · +
2
1 1 2 2 1 2
2 , 2 ⇒ φ · θ +θ φ · π+θ +θ
1 2 1 2
tan 2 tan 2 tan( ) ⇒ φ · φ · θ + θ
1 2
1 2
tan tan
1 tan tan
θ + θ
·
− θ θ
1 2
1 2
1
m m
mm
+
·
−
2h
a b
·
−
... (1)
Now, for any point ( , ) x y on the angle bisector
1 2
(or ), A A
1
tan
y
x
φ ·
2
or tan
y
x
 `
φ ·
. ,
2 2
2
tan 2
xy
x y
⇒ φ ·
−
1 2
We have used to
represent both and
φ  `
φ φ
. ,
From this relation and (1), we have
2 2
x y xy
a b h
−
·
−
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 44
Maths / Straight Lines
This is the joint equation of the angle bisectors; as expected, it is a second degree homogenous
equation.
As a corollary, suppose we are required to find the joint equation of the angle bisectors of the lines
L
1
and L
2
represented by
2 2
2 2 2 0 ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + ·
We first find the point of intersection of L
1
and L
2
, say ( , ). P α β If we now shift our coordinate system
(translation) so that P is the origin (Refer to Appendix  1), and denote the coordinates in the new
system by ( , ), X Y we will have the joint equation of the angle bisectors of L
1
and L
2
as
2 2
X Y XY
a b h
−
·
−
But since , , X x Y y → − α → −β the joint equation in the original frame is
2 2
( ) ( ) ( )( ) x y x y
a b h
−α − −β −α −β
·
−
____________________________________________________________________________________
We now discuss a very useful application of the concept of pair of straight lines.
Consider a second degree curve ( , ) S x y with the equation
2 2
( , ) 2 2 2 0 S x y ax hxy by gx fy c ≡ + + + + + ·
and a straight line
0 L px qy r ≡ + + ·
intersecting
0 S ·
in A and B. Let O be the origin.
What is the joint equation of OA and OB ?
y
x
Fig  31
B
A
What is the joint
equation of the pair
of straight lines
and ?
OA OB
O
L = 0
S x, y = ( ) 0
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 45
Maths / Straight Lines
The insight that we use here is that since both OA and OB pass through the origin, their joint equation will be
homogenous. We now construct a homogenous equation and show that both A and B satisfy it; that equation is
then guaranteed to jointly represent OA and OB.
First of all, observe that since A and B satisfy the equation of L, i.e. 0, px qy r + + · they will also satisfy the
relation
1
px qy
r
+
·
−
: Both A and B will satisfy this relation.
Now, we homogenize the equation of the second degree curve ( , ) S x y using the relation above; consider this
equation :
2
2 2
2 2 2 0
px qy px qy px qy
ax hxy by gx fy c
r r r
+ + +  `  `  `
+ + + + + ·
− − −
. , . , . ,
...(1)
Can you understand why we’ve done this? The equation we obtain above is a second degree homogenous equation,
and so it must represent two straight lines passing through the origin. Which two straight lines? Since A and B
satisfy the equation of the original curve as well as the relation
1,
px qy
r
+
·
−
A and B both satisfy the homogenized
equation in (1).
What does this imply ? That (1) is the joint equation of OA and OB!
Go over this discussion again if you find this confusing. You must fully understand the described technique which
will find very wide usage in subsequent chapters.
Find the joint equation of the straight lines passing through the origin O and the points of intersection of the line
3 4 5 0 x y + − · and the curve
2 2
2 3 5. x y + ·
Solution: One approach is of course to explicitly determine the two points of intersection, say A and B, writing
the equations of OA and OB, thereby obtaining the required joint equation. You are urged to do this as
an exercise.
However, we’ll use the homogenizing technique just described :
Fig  32
y
x
2 3 = 5 x + y
2 2
B
A
We wish to determine
the joint equation of
and OA OB
O
Example – 24
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 46
Maths / Straight Lines
The required equation can be obtained by first writing the line as
3 4
1
5
x y +  `
·
. ,
and then using this relation to homogenize the equation of the curve :
2
2 2
3 4
2 3 5
5
x y
x y
+  `
+ ·
. ,
2 2 2 2
10 15 9 16 24 x y x y xy ⇒ + · + +
2 2
24 0 x xy y ⇒ − − ·
This is the required joint equation of OA and OB.
Find the value of m, if the lines joining the origin O to the points of intersection A, B of 1 y mx · + and
2 2
1 x y + ·
are perpendicular.
Solution: The joint equation of OA and OB is
2 2 2
( ) x y y mx + · −
2 2
(1 ) 2 0 m x mxy ⇒ − + · ... (1)
The condition for perpendicularity is
0 a b + ·
which when applied to (1) yields
2
1 0 m − ·
1 m · t
This example was more or less trivial and a little knowledge of circles would have enabled you to solve this
question without resorting to the homogenizing approach; however, the fact that this approach is very powerful in
many cases will become apparent in later examples.
Example – 25
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 47
Maths / Straight Lines
Q. 1 Find the values(s) of m for which the following equation(s) represents a pair of straight lines:
(a)
2 2
2 3 1 0 x xy y y + λ − + − ·
(b)
2 2
4 10 5 10 0 x xy y x y + + λ + + ·
Q. 2 Find the angle of intersection of the straight lines given by the equation
2 2
3 7 2 9 2 12 0 x xy y x y − + + + − ·
Q. 3 Show that the lines joining the origin to the points common to
2 2
0 x hxy y gx fy + − + + · and
fx gy − · λ are at right angles for all values of
. λ
Q. 4 Find the angle between the lines given by
2 2
2 0. x pxy y − + ·
Q. 5 Prove that the lines joining the origin to the points of intersection of the line
2
x y
h k
+ ·
with the curve
2 2 2
( ) ( ) , x h y k c − + − · are perpendicular if
2 2 2
. h k c + ·
Q. 6 Find the joint equations of the straight lines passing through (1, 1) and parallel to the lines given by
2 2
5 4 2 2 0. x xy y x y − + + + − ·
Q. 7 Evaluate the point of intersection for the lines represented by the general equation
2 2
2 2 2 0. ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + ·
Q. 8 Find the joint equation of the images of the pair of lines
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + · in the mirror 0. y ·
Q. 9 Find the joint equation of the angle bisectors of the lines given by
2 2
2 sec 0. x xy y + θ + ·
Q. 10 If the pairs of straight lines
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + ·
2 2
2 0 a x h xy b y ′ ′ ′ + + ·
have a line in common, show that
2
( )( )
2
ab a b
ha h a h b hb
′ ′ −  `
′ ′ ′ ′ · − −
. ,
TRY YOURSELF  II
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 48
Maths / Straight Lines
Consider a fixed point O and n fixed straight lines. Through O, a (variable) line is drawn intersecting the fixed lines
in
1 2
, ....., .
n
P P P On this variable line, a point P is taken such that
1 2
1 1 1
..... .
n
n
OP OP OP OP
· + + +
Find the locus of P.
Solution:
P
n
P
3
P
2
P
1
L
1
L
2
L
3
L
n
Fig  33
A figure illustrating
the situation described
O ...
Assume the equations of the fixed lines to be
0, 1, 2,.....
i i i i
L a x b y c i n ≡ + + · ·
and the coordinates of the fixed point O to be ( , ). h k
Let the slope of the variable line be represented by
tan . θ
Thus, the points
i
P have the coordinates
( cos , sin ) 1, 2.....
i i i
P h OP k OP i n ≡ + θ + θ ·
Since each
i
P satisfies ,
i
L we have
( cos ) ( sin ) 0
i i i i i
a h OP b k OP c + θ + + θ + ·
( )
cos sin
i i i
i
i i
ha kb c
OP
a b
− + +
⇒ ·
θ+ θ
Assume the coordinates of P (whose locus we wish to determine) to be ( , ). x y Thus, we have
cos , sin x h OP y k OP · + θ · + θ ...(1)
SOLVED EXAMPLES
Example – 1
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 49
Maths / Straight Lines
From the relation given in the equation, we have
1
i
n
NP OP
·
∑
cos sin
i i
i i i
a b n
NP ha kb c
θ+ θ
⇒ · −
+ +
∑
cos sin
i i
i i i i i i
a b
ha kb c ha kb c
 `  `
· − θ+ − θ
+ + + +
. , . ,
∑ ∑
cos sin · λ θ + µ θ
These substitutions have
been doen for convenience
 `
. ,
From (1), we have
( ) ( ) n x h y k
OP OP OP
λ − µ −
· +
( ) 0 x y h k n ⇒ λ + µ − λ + µ + ·
This is the locus of the point P; it is evidently a straight line.
Lines are drawn to intersect n concurrent lines at the points
1 2
, .....,
n
A A A such that
1
1
constant
n
i i
OA
·
·
∑
where O is the point of concurrency. Show that the variable lines all pass through a fixed point.
Solution: There’s no loss of generality in assuming O to be the origin since we are dealing only with lengths which
are invariant with respect to the choice of the coordinate axes.
A
2
L
1
Fig  34
L
L
i
's are all fixed lines.
is the variable line
L
2
L
n
L
A
1
O
Example – 2
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 50
Maths / Straight Lines
The inclinations of the fixed lines can be assumed to be
i
θ so that the points
i
A have the coordinates
( cos , sin )
i i i i i
A OA OA ≡ θ θ
Let the variable line have the equation
0 ax by c + + ·
Since all the '
i
A s lie on this line, we have
cos sin 0
i i i i
aOA bOA c θ + θ + ·
cos sin
i
i i
c
OA
a b
−
⇒ ·
θ + θ
...(1)
According to the condition specified in the question,
1
1
costant = (say)
n
i i
K
OA
·
·
∑ ...(2)
Thus, using (1) in (2), we have
1
cos sin
=
n
i i
i
a b
K
c
·
θ + θ
−
∑
1 1
cos sin
0
n n
i i
i i
a b c
K K
· ·
 `  `
θ θ
+ + ·
. , . ,
∑ ∑
...(3)
(3) shows that the variable line L always passes through the fixed point
1 1
cos sin
, .
n n
i i
i i
K K
· ·
 `
θ θ
. ,
∑ ∑
Prove that the centroid G of a triangle divides the line joining its circumcentre C and its orthocentre H in the
ratio 1 : 2.
Example – 3
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 51
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: To make our task simpler, we choose a coordinate frame in which the triangle’s vertices have coordinates
that are “easy” to work with. One such choice is shown below.
Fig  35
y
x
R b,c ( )
P a, ( 0) Q a, ( 0)
Now, we find G, C and H :
The centroid
G G
G(x , y ):
3 3
G
a a b b
x
− + +
· ·
0 0
3 3
G
c c
y
+ +
· ·
,
3 3
b c
G
 `
⇒ ≡
. ,
The circumcentre
C C
C(x , y ) : To find C, we need two perpendicular bisectors ( ). B ⊥
The B ⊥ of PQ is
0 x ·
Since the slope of PR is
,
c
b a +
the equation of the B ⊥
of PR is
2 2
c b a b a
y x
c
+ −  ` `
− · − −
. ,. ,
The two
Bs ⊥
intersect at C:
2 2 2
0,
2
b a c
C
c
 ` − +
≡
. ,
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 52
Maths / Straight Lines
The orthocentre
H H
H(x , y ) : The altitude from R onto PQ is simply
x b ·
Let find the altitude from Q onto PR:
0 ( )
b a
y x a
c
+  `
− · − −
. ,
The two altitudes intersect at
2 2
,
b a
H b
c
 ` −
≡ −
. ,
The point which divides CH in the ratio 1 : 2 is
2 2 2 2 2
1 2
2 1 2 0
, ,
3 3 3 3
b a b a c
c c b b c
 `  `  ` − − +
× − + ×
× + ×  `
. , . ,
≡
. ,
. ,
which is the same as G. Thus, G divides CH in the ratio 1 : 2.
Find the area of the parallelogram formed by the lines
1 1 1 1 1 1
0; 0 a x b y c a x b y d + + · + + ·
2 2 2 2 2 2
0; 0 a x b y c a x b y d + + · + + ·
Find also the condition for this parallelogram to be a rhombus.
Solution:
a x + b y + d
1 1 1
= 0
a
x
+
b
y
+
c
2
2
2
=
0
a x + b y + c
1 1 1
= 0
a
x
+
b
y
+
d
2
2
2
=
0
We need to find the
area of this
parallelogram.
α
Fig  36
Example – 4
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 53
Maths / Straight Lines
We first consider a little geometry for this parallelogram. Let the parallelogram have sides a and b and
let the perpendicular distances between its opposite sides be p
1
and p
2
:
a
p
2
p
1
α
b
Fig  37
Then, the area A of the parallelogram is
1
sin A ab ap · α ·
1
( sin ) p b · α ∵
2
1
sin
p
p · ⋅
α
2
( sin ) p a · α ∵
1 2
sin
p p
·
α
...(1)
Thus, the area of the parallelogram can be expressed using the perpendicular distances between its
opposite sides rather than using the length of the sides. This is good for us since we already know how
to evaluate the perpendicular distance between two parallel lines.
1 1
1
2 2
1 1
c d
p
a b
−
⇒ ·
+
...(2)
2 2
2
2 2
2 2
c d
p
a b
−
⇒ ·
+
...(3)
Also,
1 2
1 2
1 2
1 2
tan
1
a a
b b
a a
b b
 `  `
− − −
. , . ,
α ·
+
1 2 2 1
1 2 1 2
a b a b
a a bb
−
·
+
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 54
Maths / Straight Lines
so that
1 2 2 1
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
sin
( )( )
a b a b
a b a b
−
α ·
+ +
...(4)
Using (2), (3) and (4) in (1), we have
1 1 2 2
1 2 2 1
( )( )
( )
c d c d
A
a b a b
− −
·
−
Now, the parallelogram is a rhombus if its diagonals are perpendicular, which also means that the
distances between its opposite sides are equal, i.e.
1 2
p p ·
1 1 2 2
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
c d c d
a b a b
− −
⇒ ·
+ +
A rod AB of length l slides with its end on the coordinate axes. Let O be the origin. The rectangle OAPB is
completed. Find the locus of the foot of the perpendicular drawn from P onto AB.
Solution:
P
B
O
A
y
x
θ
F
l
We need to find the locus
of as slides between
the axes
F AB
Fig  38
In terms of the variable , θ A and B, and hence P, have coordinates
(0, sin ), ( cos , 0), ( cos , sin ) A l B l P l l ≡ θ ≡ θ ≡ θ θ
The slope of PF can be observed to be
cot θ
so that its equation is
sin cot ( cos ) y l x l − θ · θ − θ ...(1)
Example – 5
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 55
Maths / Straight Lines
The equation of AB is
sec cosec x y l θ + θ · ...(2)
The intersection of (1) and (2) gives us the point ( , ) : F h k
3 3
cos , sin h l k l · θ · θ
1/ 3 1/ 3
cos , sin
h k
l l
 `  `
⇒ θ · θ ·
. , . ,
Eliminating , θ we have
2/ 3 2/ 3 2/ 3
h k l + ·
Thus, the locus of F is
2/ 3 2/ 3 2/ 3
x y l + ·
(a) Consider a line segment AB where
1 1
( , ) A x y ≡ and
2 2
( , ). B x y ≡ In what ratio does a line
0 L ax by c ≡ + + · divide AB?
Solution: Let the required ratio be :1 λ
λ
1
A x y ( , )
1 1
B x y ( , )
2 2
L ax by c = + + = 0
Fig  40
C
The coordinates of C are (from the internal division formula),
2 1 2 1
,
1 1
x x y y
C
λ + λ +  `
≡
λ + λ +
. ,
Since this lies on L, we have
2 1 2 1
0
1 1
x x y y
a b c
λ + λ +  `  `
+ + ·
λ + λ +
. , . ,
2 2 1 1
( ) ( ) 0 ax by c ax by c ⇒ λ + + + + + ·
1 1
2 2
ax by c
ax by c
− + +
⇒ λ ·
+ +
Example – 6
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 56
Maths / Straight Lines
1 1
2 2
( , )
( , )
L x y
L x y
⇒ λ · −
This is a useful result (as we’ll see from part(b), the next example) and it would be worth memorizing
it.
(b) A line intersects BC, CA and AB in
ABC ∆
at P, Q and R respectively. Show that
1
BP CQ AR
PC QA RB
⋅ ⋅ · −
Solution:
Fig  39
P
B
x , y ( )
2 2
Q
L = 0
C x , y ( )
3 3
A x , y ( )
1 1
R
Using the result of the last example, we have
1 1
2 2
( , )
( , )
AR L x y
RB L x y
· −
...(1)
2 2
3 3
( , )
( , )
BP L x y
PC L x y
· −
...(2)
3 3
1 1
( , )
( , )
L x y CQ
QA L x y
· −
...(3)
From (1), (2) and (3), it should be evident that the assertion stated in the question is valid.
The curves
2 2
1 1 1 1 1
: 2 2 0 C a x h xy b y g x + + + ·
2 2
2 2 2 2 2
: 2 2 0 C a x h xy b y g x + + + ·
intersect at two points A and B other than the origin. Find the condition for OA and OB to be perpendicular.
Example – 6
Example – 7
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 57
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: Assume the equation of AB to be . y mx c · + Thus, using the homogenizing technique, we can write
the joint equation of OA and OB:
Homogenizing C
1
:
2 2
1 1 1 1
2 2 0
y mx
a x h xy b y g x
c
−  `
+ + + ·
. ,
2 2 1 1
1 1 1
2 2
2 0
mg g xy
a x h xy b y
c c
 `
⇒ − + + + ·
. ,
This is the joint equation of OA and OB. OA and OB are
perpendicular if
1
1 1
2
0
mg
a b
c
− + ·
1 1
1
2
m a b
c g
+
⇒ ·
...(1)
Homogenizing C
2
: Similarly, we can again evaluate the joint equation of OA
and OB by homogenizing the equation of
2
: C
2 2 2 2
2 2 2
2 2
2 0
mg g xy
a x h xy b y
c c
 `
− + + + ·
. ,
The perpendicularity condition gives
2
2 2
2
0
mg
a b
c
− + ·
2 2
2
2
m a b
c g
+
⇒ ·
...(2)
From (1) and (2), the necessary required condition is
1 1 2 2
1 2
a b a b
g g
+ +
·
Find the orthocentre of the triangle formed by the lines
2 2
2 0 ax hxy by + + · and 1. px qy + ·
Example – 8
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 58
Maths / Straight Lines
Solution: The two lines given by the joint equation pass through the origin. Assume their slopes to be m
1
and m
2
so that m
1
and m
2
are the roots of
2
2 0 bm hm a + + ·
1 2 1 2
2
,
h a
m m m m
b b
⇒ + · − ·
...(1)
O
N
M
y = m x
1
y = m x
2
px +qy = 1
y
x
Fig  41
To evaluate the orthocentre, we need two altitudes. We take one of them to be the one dropped from
O onto MN.
0 qx py − · ...(2)
Let us now find the altitude from M onto ON. The coordinates of M are, by solving
1
y m x · and
1 px qy + · simultaneously,
1
1 1
1
,
m
M
p qm p qm
 `
≡
+ +
. ,
The slope of ON is m
2
so that the slope of the altitude through M is
2
1
;
m
−
thus, its equation is
1
1 2 1
1 1 m
y x
p qm m p qm
 ` −
− · −
+ +
. ,
1 2
2 2 1
1
( )
x m m
y
m m p qm
+
⇒ + ·
+
1 2
2
1
1 m m
x m y
p qm
+
⇒ + ·
+
...(3)
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 59
Maths / Straight Lines
The intersection of (2) and (3) yields the orthocentre ( , ) : h k
1 2
1 2
(1 )
( )( )
p mm
h
p qm p qm
+
·
+ +
1 2
2 2
1 2 1 2
(1 )
( )
p m m
p pq m m q m m
+
·
+ + +
2 2
( )
2
p a b
bp hpq aq
+
·
− +
.
q
k h
p
·
(from (1))
2 2
( )
2
q a b
bp hpq aq
+
·
− +
Thus, the orthocentre has the coordinates
2 2 2 2
( ) ( )
,
2 2
p a b q a b
bp hpq aq bp hpq aq
 ` + +
− + − +
. ,
Show that the equation
3 2 3 2
( 3 ) 3 0 x xy y x y λ − + − ·
represents three straight lines equally inclined to one another.
Solution: Observe that since the equation is homogenous, it will represent three straight lines passing through the
origin. Let the slopes of the three lines be
1 2
, m m and
3
. m
Thus
1 2
, m m and
3
m are the roots of the equation
2 3
(1 3 ) 3 0 m m m λ − + − ·
where
y
m
x
 `
·
. ,
3
2
3
1 3
m m
m
−
⇒ · λ
−
Example – 9
L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS L OCUS 60
Maths / Straight Lines
Since tan ,
y
m
x
· · θ where
θ
is the inclination of the line, we have
3
2
3tan tan
tan3
1 3tan
θ− θ
λ · · θ
− θ
tan3 ⇒ θ · λ
1
3 tan n
−
⇒ θ · π + λ
1
tan
3
n
−
π+ λ
⇒ θ ·
Since there are three lines corresponding to the joint equation, we’ll have three corresponding angles
of inclination
1
1 1
1 2 3
tan 2
, tan , tan
3 3 3
−
− −
λ π π
θ · θ · + λ θ · + λ
The angles of inclination show that the three lines are equally inclined to one another.
Fig  42
y
x
π
3
π
3
π
3
L
2
L
3
L
1
θ
1
θ
2
θ
3
Show that all the chords of the curve
2 2
3 2 4 0 x y x y − − + · which subtend a right angle at the origin pass through
a fixed point. Find that point.
Example – 10
v
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Solution: Let y mx c · + be a chord of the curve which subtends a right angle at the origin. The joint equation
of the lines joining the origin to points of intersection of y mx c · + and the curve is
2 2
3 (4 2 ) 0
y mx
x y y x
c
−  `
− + − ·
. ,
This represents two perpendicular lines if
2 2
Coeff. of Coeff. of 0 x y + ·
2 4
3 1 0
m
c c
+ + − ·
2 0 c m ⇒ + + ·
( 2) (1) m c ⇒ − · + ...(1)
(1) shows that y mx c · + always passes through the fixed point (–2, 1).
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ASSI GNMENT ASSI GNMENT ASSI GNMENT ASSI GNMENT ASSI GNMENT
[ LEVEL  I ]
1. Through the origin O, a (variable) line is drawn to cut the lines
1 1
y m x c · + and
2 2
y m x c · + at Q
and R. Let there be a point P on this variable line such that OP is the geometric mean of OQ and OR.
Find the locus of P.
2. Find the condition so that the pair of straight lines joining the origin to the points of intersection of
y mx c · + and the circle
2 2 2
x y a + · may be perpendicular.
3. A line drawn through the origin intersects the lines 2 2 0 x y + − · and 2 2 0 x y − + · in A and B. Let
M be the midpoint of AB. Show that the locus of M is
2 2
2 3 2 3 0. x xy y x y − − + + ·
4. Show that the reflection of the line 0, ax by c a b + + · ≠ in the line 1 0 x y + + · is the line
( ) 0. bx ay a b c + + + − ·
5. Find the angle between the straight lines given by
2 2 2 2
( )sin ( cos sin ) . x y x y + α · θ− θ
6. Prove that the lines
2 2
2 6 0 x xy y + + · are equally inclined to the lines
2 2
4 18 0. x xy y + + ·
7. Let
2 2
2 2 2 0 ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + · represent a pair of parallel straight lines. Prove that the
distance between these lines is
2 2
2 2 .
( ) ( )
g ac f bc
d
a a b b a b
− −
· ·
+ +
8. If the equation 2 2 2 0 hxy gx fy c + + + · represents two straight lines, show that they form a rectangle
of area
2
fg
h
with the coordinate axes.
[ LEVEL  II ]
9. A straight line is such that the algebraic sum of the perpendiculars drawn upon it from any number of
fixed points is zero. Show that it always passes through a fixed point.
10. Let
1 1 1
0 a x b y c + + · and
2 2 2
0 a x b y c + + · be two lines intersecting at P. Show that
1 2 1 2
0 a a bb + < ⇒ The angle of intersection at P containing the origin is acute.
1 2 1 2
0 a a bb + > ⇒ The angle of intersection at P containing the origin is obtuse.
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11. Show that there exists a point equidistant from the four points 1 2 3
1 2 3
, , , , ,
a a a
am am am
m m m
 `  `  `
. , . , . ,
and 1 2 3
1 2 3
, .
a
am m m
mm m
 `
. ,
12. The vertices of triangle are ( , tan ), 1, 2, 3.
i i i
x x i θ · The circumcentre of this triangle is the origin and
its orthocentre is ( , ). a b Show that
1 2 3
1 2 3
cos cos cos
.
sin sin sin
a
b
θ + θ + θ
·
θ + θ + θ
13. A rectangle PQRS has its side PQ parallel to the line y mx · and the vertices P, Q and S lie on the
lines , y a x b · · and
x b · −
respectively. Find the locus of R.
14. For points
1 1
( , ) P x y ≡ and
2 2
( , ), Q x y ≡ the Mdistance ( , ) d P Q is defined as
1 2 1 2
( , ) d P Q x x y y · − + −
Let (0, 0) O ≡ and (3, 2). A ≡ Prove that the set of points in the first quadrant which are
equiMdistant from O and A, consists of the union of a line segment of finite length and an infinite ray.
Sketch this set.
15. The sides of a triangle are cos sin , 1, 2, 3.
i i i i
L x y p i ≡ α + α · · Prove that the orthocentre of this
triangle satisfies
1 2 3 2 3 1 3 1 2
cos( ) cos( ) cos( ). L L L α −α · α −α · α −α
16. If
2 2
2 2 2 0 ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + · and
2 2
2 2 2 0, ax hxy by gx fy c + + − − + · each represent
a pair of straight lines, prove that the area of the parallelogram they enclose is
2
2
.
c
h ab −
17. Find the area of the triangle formed by the lines given by
2 2
2 2 2 0 ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + · and
the xaxis.
18. If
2 2
2 2 2 0 ax hxy by gx fy c + + + + + · represents two straight lines, prove that the product of the
perpendiculars drawn from the origin to these lines is
2 2
.
( ) 4
c
a b h − +
19. A line L through the origin meets 1 x y + · and 3 x y + · at P and Q respectively. Through P and Q,
two straight lines L
1
and L
2
are drawn parallel to 2 5 x y − · and 3 5 x y + · respectively. The lines L
1
and L
2
intersect in R. As L varies, show that the locus of R is a straight line.
20. Let the sides of a parallelogram be , , U a U b V a′ · · · and , V b′ · where U lx my n · + + and
. V l x m y n ′ ′ ′ ≡ + + Show that the equation of the diagonal through the intersection points of
, U a V a′ · · and , U b V b′ · · is given by
1
1 0
1
U V
a a
b b
′ ·
′
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APPENDI X APPENDI X APPENDI X APPENDI X APPENDI X
TRANSFORMA TRANSFORMA TRANSFORMA TRANSFORMA TRANSFORMATI ON OF COORDI N TI ON OF COORDI N TI ON OF COORDI N TI ON OF COORDI N TI ON OF COORDI NA AA AATES TES TES TES TES
Suppose that a person A is flying a kite from the ground while another person B is observing this kite from the top
of a building, as shown below:
y
x
Fig  44
B (H, K)
X
Y
A
(0,0)
In A's frame of reference, the coordinates of B are ( , ). H K Now suppose that A and B both specify the position
of the kite relative to themselves. It should be evident that the coordinates of the kite in the two reference frames
will be different.
Let the coordinates of the kite be ( , ) x y in A's reference frame and ( , ) X Y in B's reference frame. Then, we have
, X x H Y y K · − · − ...(1)
Thus, a translation of the axes implies a corresponding change in the coordinates in the manner specified by (1).
In fact, if the kite traces a path ( , ) 0 f x y · in A's reference frame, it will trace the path ( , ) 0 f X H Y K + + · in
B's frame of reference.
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Translation of axes implies a simple shift in the origin without a change in the relative orientation of the axes. We
now consider the case when the axes is rotated but the origin is the same
y
x
Fig  45
θ
X
A
Y
Let a point A have the coordinates ( , ) x y in the original frame of reference and ( , ) X Y in the rotated frame of
reference. Verify that the following relations hold true :
cos sin x X Y · θ− θ
sin cos y X Y · θ + θ
We can now combine the case of translation and rotation of axes to determine the most general transformed
coordinates. Let the origin of the axes be shifted to ( , ) h k and the axes be rotated by an anticlockwise angle . θ
The original coordinates ( , ) x y and the coordinates in the new frame of reference ( , ) X Y will satisfy the relations

cos sin x h X Y · + θ− θ
sin cos y k X Y · + θ + θ