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Math 1023 Section 6.4 Logarithmic Functions

Recall that a one-to-one function y = f(x) has an inverse function, x = f(y). Consider
the function y = f(x) = ax, a > 0, a ≠ 1, is one-to-one and hence has an inverse
function that is defined implicitly by the equation

x = ay, a > 0, a ≠1

This inverse function is so important that it is given a name, the logarithmic


function.

The logarithmic function to the base a, where a > 0 and a ≠ 1, is denoted by y = logax
(read as “y is the logarithm to the base a of x”) and is defined by

y = logax if and only if x = ay

The domain of the logarithm function y = logax is x > 0, or in interval notation (0, ∞ ).
The range of the logarithm function is all real numbers.

Note: A logarithm is merely a name for a certain exponent.

When the base of the logarithm is base e, we have a special notation for it,
y = ln x, called the natural logarithm. This logarithm is used extensively in
engineering and mathematics.

When the base of the logarithm is 10, we call it the common logarithm and leave off
the base, log x, means log to the base of 10 of x.

Ex. 1: Change the exponential expression to an equivalent logarithmic expression.


e2.2 = M

Ex. 2: Change the logarithmic expression to an equivalent exponential expression.


log7 N = 6.5

Ex. 3: Find the exact value of each logarithm without using a calculator.
a.) log 3 9 b.) log 2 8
2

To find the domain of logarithmic functions, the argument (the expression after the
base) must be greater than zero. Set up that inequality and solve.

Ex. 4: Find the domain of the following function.


h(x) = log4(3 – x)

3–x>0
3 > x or x < 3 so the domain in interval notation is (- ∞ ,3).

Graphing a Logarithm Function


Recall the graph of an exponential function y = ax, the domain is all reals, and the
range is y > 0. Also recall the relationship between the domain and range of inverse
functions. The inverse of the y = ax, is y = logax. So 8

Domain of ax = Range of logax = All Real Numbers = (- ∞ , ∞ )


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Range of ax = Domain of logax = (0, ∞ )


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x
Look at the graph of y = 2
and the graph of y = log2x 2
(1,2)

y=l og2x
to the right. Note that the graphs (0,1) (2,1)
are symmetric to the line y = x,
which is always true of inverse
-10 -5
(1,0)
5 10

functions.
Note the shape of a logarithm, -2

the domain, and the range.


-4

The graph of y = log2x is a typical log graph where


the base is greater than 1. 8
-6
8

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Graphing logarithmic functions:
6
-8

4
a>1 0<a<1 4

2
2

-10 -5 5 10
-5 5 10

-2
-2

-4
-4

-6
3

Facts About the Graph of a Logarithmic Function f(x) = logax


1. The domain is the set of positive real numbers; the range is all real numbers.
2. The x-intercept of the graph is (1, 0). There is no y-intercept.
3. The y-axis (x = 0) is a vertical asymptote of the graph.
4. A logarithmic function is decreasing if 0 < a < 1 and increasing if a >1.
5. The graph of f contains the points (1, 0), and (a, 1).
6. The graph is smooth and continuous, with no corners or gaps.

Graph the special graph of y = ln x.

_____________________________

Once we know the basic logarithmic function, we will use transformations to graph
others.
Horizontal shifting is the only transformation that will move the vertical asymptote
off of the y-axis. So if you shift 3 to the left then your VA will be x = -3.

Ex. 5: Given g(x) = ln(x + 3), choose the correct graph and list the domain and
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range in interval notation, and list the equation of the vertical asymptote.
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g(x) = ln(x + 3) 4

-5 5

D: _____________ 2

-2

R: _____________ -5 5

4 2

-4

VA: __________ -2

2
-5 5
-6
-4

-2
-5 5

-6

-2 -4

-4 -6

-8
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Ex. 6: The graph of a logarithmic function is given. Match it to its equation.

4 A. y = log2 (x)

B. y = - log2 (x)
2

C. y = log2 (1 – x)

D. y = - log2 (-x)
-5 5

E. y = log2 (-x)
-2
F. y = log2 (x – 1)

-4
G. y = log2 x + 1

H. y = 1 – log2 (x)
-6

Solving logarithmic equations and exponential equations by rewriting them.


Note: You must check your solutions to a logarithmic equation to be sure the value
is in the domain of the original equation!!! If it is not then it is an extraneous
solution that is to be discarded.

Ex. 7: Solve each equation.


a) log3(3x – 2) = 2

b) e2x = 7