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# A Crash Course

in College Algebra
Fundamentals: Describing Functions
By
Jonathan D. Williams
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Overview
Lesson Objectives
Definition of a Function
Attributes of Functions

Intercepts
Domain & Range
Symmetry
Monotonicity

Classification of Functions

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Lesson Objectives
By the end of this presentation, you should be able to:
Formally define a function
Determine whether a relation represents a function
Evaluate the intercepts of a function
Describe the set of inputs and outputs of a function
Describe the symmetry of a function
Analyze the limiting behavior of a function using
asymptotes
Identity
intervals
for
which
a
function
is
increasing/decreasing
Recognize and classify common types of functions

## In this section you will learn what functions are and

how to interpret their notations and parameters

DEFINITION OF A FUNCTION
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Definition
A function is a mathematical relation between two sets of
elementsinputs and outputswhere each element from
the first set (inputs) can only be paired with, at most, one
element in the second set (outputs)
Key Terminology
Input:
a value that is processed by a function (independent variable)
the first member listed in an ordered pair

Output:
a value produced by a function that corresponds to a specific
input (dependent variable)
the second member listed in an ordered pair

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Definition
Think of a function as a process that takes some raw material
or value (input) and produces some object or value as a
result (output).
Input

Function

Output

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Definition
The most essential thing to remember about a function is
that each input must have no more than one unique output.

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Definition
Which of these is least like the other?
f

Input

Output

Input

Output

Input

Output

-2

-4

-2

-2

-1

-2

-1

-1

-1, 1

-2

-4

-6

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Definition
Which of these is least like the other?
f

Input

Output

Input

Output

Input

Output

-2

-4

-2

-2

-1

-2

-1

-1

-1, 1

-2

-4

-6

If you chose , you are correct. and both represent functions according to the
definition. is the only relation that has two different output values for the same
input value. is a function since you can have the same output value for all input
values (this would be called a constant function).
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Notation
A typical function notation is
components. They are as follows:
Function Name
Input Value
Output Value

comprised

The syntax is
"Output" = "Function Name" "Input"

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

of

three

Definition of a Function
Notation
In mathematics, there are many different notations that are
used to represent a function. However, for the purpose of
simplicity, we will only focus on the most commonly used
form.
=
The components of this notation are as follows:
the independent variable; this is the input value of the
function
the dependent variable; this is the output value of the
function
the function name
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Notation
The function notation given by
=
equals of .

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Definition of a Function
Notation
For each function listed in the table below, identify the
independent variable, dependent variable, and the function
name.
Function

= sin

Independent
Variable

Dependent
Variable
Name

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

= @

Definition of a Function
Notation
For each function listed in the table below, identify the
independent variable, dependent variable, and the function
name.
Function

= sin

= @

Independent
Variable

Dependent
Variable

Name

sin

## In this section you will learn how to describe a

function according to its attributes

ATTRIBUTES OF A FUNCTION
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Intercepts
The point(s) where the graph of a function intersects
either the -axis or the -axis
Types of Intercepts
-Intercept
The point where the graph of a function intersects the -axis
There can be at most one -intercept
Expressed as a coordinate pair in the form 0, , where is a
real-valued constant, or in function notation, = 0

-Intercept
The point where the graph of a function intersects the x-axis
There can be infinitely many -intercepts or none at all
Expressed as a coordinate pair in the form , 0 , where is a
real-valued constant, or in function notation, 0 =
Also referred to as zeroes
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Intercepts
The matrix below illustrates how to evaluate the intercepts of
function when provide with its graph or equation.
Use this method to evaluate the
When given a(n)
-intercept

-intercept

Graph

## Select all points where the

graph intersects the -axis
(horizontal)

## Select the one point where

the graph intersects the axis (vertical)

Equation

## Substitute the output

(dependent variable) with
zero and solve for the
input

## Substitute the input

(independent variable)
with zero and solve for the
output

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range
Domain: the set of all possible inputs for which a function
is defined
Range: the set of all possible outputs produced by a
function
Also referred to as the codomain

## These attributes are commonly represented using either

set notation or interval notation

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range: Set Notation
The table below illustrates the different combinations of
formally expressing the domain and range of a function.
Literal Meaning

Set Notation

D: |
R: |

## Include all values within an interval, to , and both endpoints

D: |
R: |

Include all values within an interval, to , and only the lower endpoint

D: | <
R: | <

Include all values within an interval, to , and only the upper endpoint

D: | <
R: | <

D: | < <
R: | < <

D: |
R: |

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range: Interval Notation
The table below illustrates the different combinations used
to concisely represent the domain and range of a function.
Literal Meaning

Interval Notation

## Include all values within an interval, to , and both endpoints

Include all values within an interval, to , and only the lower endpoint

, )

Include all values within an interval, to , and only the upper endpoint
Include all values within an interval, to , excluding both endpoints

## Include all values except for a specific value,

Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

(,
,

, ,

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range
Consider the functions represented by the sets of ordered
pairs below. Express the domain, D, and range, R, for each
function as a set of values.
=

## 2,4 , 4,6 , 24,24 , 2,10

1, 5 , 2,4 , 5, 9 , 3,11

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range
=

## 2,4 , 4,6 , 24,24 , 2,10

Domain:
Range:

1, 5 , 2,4 , 5, 9 , 3,11
Domain:
Range:

{-2, 2, 4, 24}
{4, 6, 10 24}

{-2, 1, 3, 5}
{-9, -5, 4, 11}

Domain:
Range:

{-2, -1, 3, 6}
{6}

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range
Express the domain, D, and range, R, for each function in the
table using words, set notation, and interval notation.
Function

Literal
Meaning

Set
Notation

Interval
Notation

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Domain & Range
Express the domain, D, and range, R, for each function in the
table using words, set notation, and interval notation.

Function

Literal
Meaning

D: All real #s
R: All real #s

D: All real #s
R: Nonpositive #s

## D: All #s greater than 1

R: Nonnegative #s

## D: Any value except 2

R: Any value except 0

Set
Notation

D: |
R: |

D: |
R: | 0

D: | 1
R: | 0

D: | 2
R: | 0

Interval
Notation

D: ,
R: ,

D: ,
R: (, 0

D: 1, )
R: 0, )

D: , 2 2,
R: , 0 0,

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Symmetry
A property of a mathematical object such that the size
remains unchanged under certain transformations.
Types of Symmetry
Even
Odd
Asymmetrical

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Symmetry: Even
A function is said to have even symmetry when the output
values () that correspond to any input ( ) and its
additive inverse () are identical for all elements in the
domain
Algebraic Indicator: =
Graphical Indicator: a function has line symmetry about
the -axis
NOTE:
This means that if the graph of a function were folded along the
y-axis, the curve would completely overlap itself

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Symmetry: Even
The graphs below are examples of even functions given that each
curve is a mirror image of itself when reflected through the y-axis.

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Symmetry: Odd
A function is said to have odd symmetry when the output
values () that correspond to any input ( ) and its
elements in the domain
Algebraic Indicator: =
Graphical Indicator: a function has point symmetry about
the origin
Note:

## This means that if the graph of a function were rotated by 180

degrees, the curve would appear identical to its original position

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Symmetry: Odd
The graphs below are examples of odd functions given that the
image of each curve remains unchanged when rotated 180 about
the origin.

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Asymmetrical
A function is said to be asymmetrical (non-symmetrical) if
neither the criteria for even symmetry nor odd symmetry is
satisfied.

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Monotonicity
Describes the behavior of a function on any interval within
its domain
Types of Monotonicity
Monotone Increasing
Monotone Decreasing
Non-Monotonic

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Monotone Increasing
This means that as your input increases, the
corresponding output will be greater than or equal to its
predecessors for all values in the domain
Algebraic Indicator
and are arbitrary inputs within the domain, such that
< , and for all inputs

Graphical Indicator
As you follow the path of a curve from left to right, the curve
will move up along the vertical axis

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Monotone Decreasing
This means that as your input increases, the
corresponding output will be less than or equal to its
predecessors for all values in the domain
Algebraic Indicator
and are arbitrary inputs within the domain, such that
< , and for all inputs

Graphical Indicator
As you follow the path of a curve from left to right, the curve
will move down along the vertical axis

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Attributes of a Function
Non-Monotonic
This means that a function alternates between intervals of
increase and decrease throughout its domain

## In this section you will learn how to identify the

different types of common functions

CLASSIFICATION OF FUNCTIONS
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
The are many categories, or families, of functions that can
be described by the attributes they share with one another.
The following slides in this section illustrate the common
types of functions, the attributes specific to its type, and the
standard graph for its family members.

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Function Families

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Polynomial
A polynomial is a mathematical expression that can be
represented by a sum or difference of multiple power
functions with nonnegative, integer exponents and realvalued coefficients.

= + 1 1 + + 2 2 + 1 1 + 0

=
=0

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Polynomial
General properties of all polynomials include the following:
The leading term is the one with the largest exponent in
the polynomial, regardless of its actual position
The degree of the polynomial is the exponent of the
term
The maximum, possible, number of x-intercepts for any
polynomial is equal to its degree
The domain of any polynomial spans all real numbers
All polynomials are continuous functions
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Constant Function (Zero-Degree Polynomial)
A polynomial with a degree of zero and a nonzero, realvalued leading coefficient.
= 0
where 0 0

Properties:
Zero-degree polynomial
Graphically represented by a horizontal line with equation
= , where is any real number ( ), with a yintercept at 0,
Also a special type of linear function whose average rate of
change (slope) is zero
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Linear Function (1st-Degree Polynomial)
A polynomial with a degree of one and a nonzero, real-valued
= 1 + 0
or
= +
where 1 0 and 0

Properties:
1st-degree polynomial
Graphically represented by an oblique line whose average
rate of change (slope, ) remains constant
The y-intercept is at 0,
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Linear Function
Attributes of Canonical Equation
General Equation:

= +

Canonical Equation:

= ,
where = 1, = 0

Family:

Polynomial

Domain:

,

Range:

## All real numbers

,

X-Intercept(s):

0,0

Y-Intercept:

0,0

Symmetry:

Odd

Monotonicity:

Strictly Increasing

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
A polynomial with a degree of two and a nonzero, real-valued
= 2 2 + 1 + 0
or
= 2 + +
where 2 0 and 0
Properties:
2nd-degree polynomial
Graphically represented by a parabola
The y-intercept is at 0,
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= 2 + +

Canonical Equation:

= 2,
where = 1, = = 0

Family:

Polynomial

Domain:

## All real numbers

,

Range:

Nonnegative numbers
0, )

X-Intercept(s):

0,0

Y-Intercept:

0,0

Symmetry:

Even

Monotonicity:

Non-Monotonic

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Cubic Function (3rd-Degree Polynomial)
A polynomial with a degree of three and a nonzero, realvalued leading coefficient.
= 3 3 + 2 2 + 1 + 0
where 3 0

Properties:
3rd-degree polynomial
The y-intercept is at 0, 0
The domain and range each span all real numbers

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Cubic Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= 3 + 2 + +

Canonical Equation:

= 3,
where = 1, = = = 0

Family:

Polynomial

Domain:

,

Range:

## All real numbers

,

X-Intercept(s):

0,0

Y-Intercept:

0,0

Symmetry:

Odd

Monotonicity:

Strictly Increasing

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Square Root Function
A power function with a rational exponent
1
2

1
of .
2

=
or
=
where 0

Properties:
The domain is restricted such that the base value, , must
be nonnegative; consequently, the range consists solely of
nonnegative values
A continuous function
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Square Root Function
Attributes of Canonical Equation
General Equation:

= +

Canonical Equation:

= ,
where = 1, = = 0

Family:

Power

Domain:

Nonnegative numbers
0, )

Range:

Nonnegative numbers
0, )

X-Intercept(s):

0,0

Y-Intercept:

0,0

Symmetry:

Asymmetrical

Monotonicity:

Strictly Increasing

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Reciprocal Function
A power function with a negative, integer exponent of 1.
= 1
or
1
=

where 0

Properties:
The domain includes all real numbers except zero;
consequently, the range consists solely of nonzero values
A discontinuous function
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Reciprocal Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:
Canonical Equation:

1
,

where = 1, = = 0
=

Family:

Power

Domain:

Nonzero numbers
, 0 0,

Range:

Nonzero numbers
, 0 0,

X-Intercept(s):

None

Y-Intercept:

None

Symmetry:

Odd

Monotonicity:

Non-Monotonic

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Absolute Value Function
A piecewise function that is comprised of two, intersecting
linear functions each with restricted domains.
, 0
=
, < 0
or
=
Properties:
The domain includes all real numbers
The range consists solely of nonnegative values
A continuous function
Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Absolute Value Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= +

Canonical Equation:

= ,
where = 1, = = 0

Family:

Piecewise

Domain:

## All real numbers

,

Range:

Nonnegative numbers
0, )

X-Intercept(s):

0,0

Y-Intercept:

0,0

Symmetry:

Even

Monotonicity:

Non-Monotonic

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Exponential Function
A function denoted by a positive, real-valued base, , that is
raised to a variable exponent. However, the base cannot be
equal to one ( 1).
=
where 1 and > 0

Properties:
Base must be a positive value other than 1
The domain includes all real numbers
A continuous function

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Exponential Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= +

Canonical Equation:

= ,
where = 1, = , = = 0

Family:

Exponential

Domain:

## All real numbers

,

Range:

Positive numbers
0,

X-Intercept(s):

None

Y-Intercept:

0,1

Symmetry:

Asymmetrical

Monotonicity:

Strictly Increasing

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Logarithmic Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= log +

Canonical Equation:

= log or = ln ,
where = 1, = , = = 0

Family:

Logarithmic

Domain:

Positive numbers
0,

Range:

## All real numbers

,

X-Intercept(s):

1,0

Y-Intercept:

None

Symmetry:

Asymmetrical

Monotonicity:

Strictly Increasing

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Sine Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= sin

Canonical Equation:

= sin
where = 1, = = = 0

Family:

Trigonometric

Domain:

,

Range:

1,1

X-Intercept(s):

, 0 , where

Y-Intercept:

0,0

Symmetry:

Odd

Monotonicity:

Non-Monotonic

## Copyright 2012, 2013 Jonathan D. Williams

Classification of Functions
Cosine Function

## Attributes of Canonical Equation

General Equation:

= cos

Canonical Equation:

= cos
where = 1, = = = 0

Family:

Trigonometric

Domain:

,

Range:

1,1

X-Intercept(s):

21
,0
2

, where

Y-Intercept:

0,1

Symmetry:

Even

Monotonicity:

Non-Monotonic