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Lesson 1

Equations of a Straight Line
1.1 Cartesian Coordinate System
A Cartesian coordinate system consists of two perpendicular
axes X′OX (the x-axis) and Y′OY (the y-axis) intersecting at
O (the origin).
Y
Taking a normal scale on


both axes, any point P in



the plane is characterized
by two coordinates : the

x-coordinate (the distance X'
X
  
   O
from the y-axis) and the


y-coordinate (the distance


from the x-axis).

For example, the points 

Y'
are located in the xy-plane as:

y ) : x.  In the third quarter both x and  y coordinates are negative. Third Quarter Fourth Quarter  In the fourth quarter the x-coordinate is positive and the Y' y-coordinate is negative. We adopt the usual convention  that in the first quarter both x  and y coordinates are positive. Thus we have a one to one correspondence between the set E2 of points in the plane and the set of ordered pairs of real numbers: R 2  {( x. y  R} .The coordinate axes divide the Y plane into four quarters. Second Quarter First quarter In the second quarter the  x-coordinate is negative and X' X O       the y-coordinate is positive.

Then: ( x  2) 2  (5  1) 2  ( x  7) 2  (5  1) 2  x  4.5). y 2) y 2y1 x 2  x1 P( x1. Q)  ( x2  x1 ) 2  ( y2  y1 ) 2 y Q( x 2.2 Distance Between Two Points Given two points P(x1. .y1) and Q(x2.5  x 2  4 x  4  16  x 2  14x  49  16 Hence the point is (4. then the distance between them can be obtained using Pythagoras theorem and is given by: d (P. Solution Let the point be (x. Solution d ((3.2).1) and (7.3).3))  (2  3) 2  (3  2) 2  1  25  26 Example 2 Find the point equidistant from the two points (2. y1) x Example 1 Compute the distance between the two points (3.1.2) and (2.y2).5.1) and whose y-coordinate is 5.5). y1) N( x 2. (2.

y) of any current point on it.3 Equation to a Straight Line We mean by the equation to a straight line any relation that connects the coordinates (x. y y                     x The line parallel to the x-axis and is one unit below it has the equation y = 1. x .1. For example the straight line parallel to the y-axis and is two units to the right of it has the equation x = 2.

i. y  slope = 0  2 1 - -   x y           y  slope = 1   45 o        x  x . The figures below show the slopes of some lines. with OX.e.1. Slope of a Straight Line The slope of a straight line is equal to the tangent of the angle that the line makes with the positive direction of the x-axis.4 The line whose equation is y = x is equally inclined to the coordinate axes.

x PN y  y0  y  y0  m ( x  x0 ) m  tan    x x0 AN x  x0 . Take a current point P(x . y) on the line. The following are y the most famous forms: slope= m = tan  1.5   x   slope is undefined   x   Forms of Equations to a Straight Line The equation of a straight line can take different forms depending on the information we are given.5.y y slope = 1            1.y ) N slope be m.y ) y y0 Let the straight line pass through  the point A(x0 . y0) and let its A x(0 0.1 Point-slope form P (x .

Solution The equation is: y  1  m ( x  2)     x  x   y     (2.e.e. Graph the set. 3( y  2)  2( x  3) i. y Solution The equation is:  slope is 2/3 y  2  23 ( x  3)  i. 2 x  3 y  0 Example 2 Write down the equation of the set of straight lines passing through the fixed point (2.2) and whose slope is equal to 23 .1)    . Graph the line.1).Example 1 Find the equation of the straight line passing through the point (3.

y2 )  A ( x1 . the equation to the line is: y  y1 y2  y1  x  x1 x2  x1 y     slope = 2/3   (3.2) x   y y2  y1 m  tan  y2  y1 x2  x1 B ( x2 .y1) and B(x2.2 Two points form Let the straight line pass through the two points A(x1.5. Applying the point-slope form.y2).y1 ) x x2  x1 .Example 3 Write down the equation of the set of straight lines having a fixed slope 23 . Graph the set. Solution The equation is: y  y0  23 ( x  x0 ) 1.

3) and is parallel to the straight line passing  through the two points (1. 5x  y  13  Example 2  Find the equation of the straight line y (0.7) passing through the point (4.e.  1( y  2)  5( x  3)  x x 3 23       i.Example 1 Find the equation of the straight line passing through the two y points (3.3)  (0. Solution 7  ( 3) The slope is: m   10 0  ( 1) The equation is: y  3  10 ( x  4)         x .2) and (2.  Solution (3.2)  The equation is:  y  2  3  2 i.7) . Graph the line.e. Graph the line.3) and slope = 10 (4.3).

3 Slope .1. c ) c x y (0.1. y  mx  c Example Find the equation of the set of straight lines having a fixed y-intercept = 1.5. the equation to the line is: y  c = m ( x  0) i.5 y  (0. Solution The equation is: y = m x  1.5.c).e.intercept form Let m be the slope of the line and let it intercept a part c from the y-axis. Hence it passes through the point (0. Applying the point-slope form. Graph the set.5)         x .

b ) the equation to the straight line is: y 0 b0 b  i.4).0) and (0. ay   b( x  a) i. 3b 2  A b4 ( a .b). y   ( x  a) xa 0a a i.5.e. ay  bx  ab i.4 Two intercepts form Let the straight line intercepts a part a from the x-axis and a part b from the y-axis.e. 0) x y b A a (3.1. x  y  1 a b Solution Example Find the area of the triangular A  12 ab 3 4 region cut from the first quarter of   1 the xy-plane by the straight line a b passing through the point (3.4) x . then (0. Hence it passes through the two points (a.e. y Applying the two points form.e.

5.1.5 The General form We can write the equation to a straight line in the general form: A x + B y +C = 0 This form can be transformed to any one of the above standard forms as follows: A C . B B Then the slope of the line is equal to – A/B. C / A C / B . x y (two-intercepts form) + =1 2. B  0 (slope-intercept form) y  x 1. and the y-intercept is equal to – C/B.