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with epsilon and delta

**We will solve two problems which give examples of work-
**

ing with the , δ definitions of continuity and uniform con-

tinuity.

√Problem. Show that the square root function f (x) =

x is continuous on [0, ∞).

Solution. Suppose x ≥ 0 and > 0. It suffices to show

that there exists a δ > 0 such that for every y in the domain

(i.e. every y ≥ 0)

√ √

|x − y| < δ =⇒ | x − y| < .

Note, unless both x and y are zero, we have

√ √ !

√ √ √ √ x+ y

x − y = ( x − y) √ √

x+ y

x−y

=√ √ .

x+ y

√

Case I: x > 0. Choose δ = x . Then

√

√ √ |x − y| |x − y| x

|x−y| < δ =⇒ | x− y| = √ √ ≤ √ < √ =.

x+ y x x

Case II: x = 0. Choose δ = 2 . It suffices to consider y > 0,

and then

√ √ |x − y| y √ √

|x−y| < δ =⇒ | x− y| = √ √ = √ = y < 2 = .

x+ y y

This finishes the proof that the square root function is con-

tinuous.

Problem. Show that f is uniformly continuous.

A solution. Suppose > 0. By the epsilon-delta defi-

nition of uniform continuity, it suffices to show that there

exists δ > 0 such that for all x, y in the domain of f ,

|x − y| < δ =⇒ |f (x) − f (y)| < .

1

2

**Because f is continuous on the closed bounded interval
**

[0, 2], f is uniformly contiuous on [0, 2]. Thus there ex-

ists δ1 > 0 such that whenever x and y are both in [0, 2],

we have

|x − y| < δ1 =⇒ |f (x) − |f (y)| < .

Next, if x and y are both at least 1, we have

√ √ |x − y| |x − y|

| x − y| = √ √ ≤ .

x+ y 2

Choose δ = min{δ1 , 1, } and suppose |x − y| < δ. If

one of x, y is less than 1, then both are smaller than 2

(since δ ≤ 1) and then |f (x) − f (y)| < (since δ ≤ δ1 ).

On the other hand, if x and y are both in [1, ∞), then

|f (x) − f (y)| < |x−y|

2 < 2 < . This proves that f is uni-

formly continuous.

********************************

**There are other ways to do the exercises above. One use-
**

ful trick to remember is the multiplication move with the

square roots. Another technique in the example, which is

used over and over and over, is to split a problem into more

than one case, handle the cases separately, and then put the

solutions together to solve the original problem.

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