Example
y = 3tanx
y = 3x + 2
The Absolute Value Function is Continuous at 0
but is Not Differentiable at 0
The absolute value function is defined piecewise, with an apparent switch in behavior as the
independent variable x goes from negative to positive values. For this reason, it is convenient to
examine onesided limits when studying this function near a = 0.
x if x 0
x =
{ x if x < 0
The absolute value function is continuous at 0.
Computations of the two onesided limits of the absolute value function at 0 are not difficult to
complete. Since x = x for all x > 0, we find the following right hand limit.
lim x = lim x = 0
+ +
x > 0 x > 0
Since x = x for all x < 0, we find the following left hand limit.
lim x = lim x = 0

x>0 x>0
Since the two onesided limits agree, the two sided limit exists and is equal to 0, and we find that
the following is true.
lim x = 0 = a
x>a
This is what it means for the absolute value function to be continuous at a = 0. We remark that it
is even less difficult to show that the absolute value function is continuous at other (nonzero)
points in its domain. (There is no need to consider separate one sided limits at other domain
points.) In fact, the absolute value function is continuous (on its entire domain R).
0 + h  0 h
lim = lim = lim 1= 1
+ + +
h>0 h h>0 h h>0
In contrast, if h < 0, then h/h = 1, and so the result is the following.
0 + h  0 h
lim = lim = lim 1 = 1
  
h>0 h h>0 h h>0
We therefore find that the two one sided limits disagree, which means that the two sided limit of
difference quotients does not exist. Thus we find that the absolute value function is not
differentiable at 0.