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# LIMITS

of
FUNCTIONS
LIMITS OF FUNCTIONS
OBJECTIVES:
define limits;
illustrate limits and its theorems; and
evaluate limits applying the given theorems.
DEFINITION: Limits
The most basic use of limits is to describe how a
function behaves as the independent variable
approaches a given value. For example let us
examine the behavior of the function
for x-values closer and closer to 2. It is evident from
the graph and the table in the next slide that the
values of f(x) get closer and closer to 3 as the values
of x are selected closer and closer to 2 on either the
left or right side of 2. We describe this by saying
that the limit of is 3 as x
approaches 2 from either side, we write
1 x x ) x ( f
2
+ =
1 x x ) x ( f
2
+ =
) 3 1 x x lim
2
2 x
= +

2
3
f(x)
f(x)
x
y
1 x x y
2
!
x 1.9 1.95 1.99 1.995 1.999 2 2.001 2.005 2.01 2.05 2.1
F(x) 2.71 2.852 2.97 2.985 2.997 3.003 3.015 3.031 3.152 3.31
left side right side
1.1.1 (p. 70)
Limits (An Informal View)
This leads us to the following general idea.
EXAMPLE
Use numerical evidence to make a conjecture about
the value of
1 x
1 x
lim
1 x

## Although the function , this has no

bearing on the limit.
The table shows sample x-values approaching 1 from
the left side and from the right side. In both cases the
corresponding values of f(x) appear to get closer and
closer to 2, and hence we conjecture that
and is consistent with the graph of f.
1 x
1 x
) x ( f

!
2
1 x
1 x
li
1 x
!

p
Figure 1.1.9 (p. 71)
x .99 .999 .9999 .99999 1 1.00001 1.0001 1.001 1.01
F(x) 1.9949 1.9995 1.99995 1.999995 2.000005 2.00005 2.0005 2.004915
THEOREMS ON LIMITS
Our strategy for finding limits algebraically has two parts:
First we will obtain the limits of some simpler function
Then we will develop a list of theorems that will enable us
to use the limits of simple functions as building blocks for
finding limits of more complicated functions.
illustrated in Fig 1.2.1
Theorem 1.2.1 (p. 80)
) ) a x k k ! !
a x a x
lim b lim a
numbers. real be k and a Let Theorem 1 . 2 . 1
Figure 1.2.1 (p. 80)
)
3 3 li 3 3 li 3 3 li
exa ple, For
a. of values all for a x as k f(x)
why explains which varies, x as k at fixed re ain
f(x) of values the then function, constant a is k x f If
x 0 x -25 x
= = =
p p
=
p p p T
Example 1.
) )
z
z
! ! !
!

x x x
If
x -2 x 0 x
lim 2 lim 0 lim
example, For
. a x f that true be also must it a then x x, x f
Example 2.
Theorem 1.2.2 (p. 81)
The following theorem will be our basic tool for finding limits
algebraically
This theorem can be stated informally as follows:
a) The limit of a sum is the sum of the limits.
b) The limit of a difference is the difference of the limits.
c) The limits of a product is the product of the limits.
d) The limits of a quotient is the quotient of the limits,
provided the limit of the denominator is not zero.
e) The limit of the n
th
root is the n
th
root of the limit.
A constant factor can be moved through a limit symbol.
)
3 1
5 8
5 ) 4 ( 2
5 lim x lim 2
5 lim x 2 lim 5 x 2 lim . 1
4 x 4 x
4 x 4 x 4 x
!
!
!
!
!

) )
6
12 - 18
12 ) 3 ( 6
12 lim x 6 lim 12 x 6 lim . 2
3 x 3 x 3 x
!
!
!
!

) ) )
) )
) )
) )
) )
13
13 1
2 ) 3 ( 5 3 4
2 lim x lim 5 x lim 4 lim
2 lim x 5 lim x lim 4 lim
2 x 5 lim x 4 lim ) 2 x 5 ( x 4 lim . 3
3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x
3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x
3 x 3 x 3 x
!
!
!
!
!
!

EXAMPLE
Evaluate the following limits.
) ) ) )
)
21
10

4 25
5 2

4 li x li 5
x li 2
4 li x 5 li
x 2 li
4 x 5
x 2
li . 4
5 x 5 x
5 x
5 x 5 x
5 x
5 x
=

p p
p
p p
p
p
) ) )
)
)
) ) )
3375
15 6 3 3
6 li x li 3
6 li x 3 li
6 x 3 li 6 x 3 li . 5
3 3
3
3 x 3 x
3
3 x 3 x
3
3 x
3
3 x
=
= + =
+ =
+ =
+ = +
p p
p p
p p
2
3
4
9

3 x
1 x 8
li
3 x
1 x 8
li . 6
1 x 1 x
= =
+
+
=
+
+
p p
OR
When evaluating the limit of a function at a given
value, simply replace the variable by the indicated
limit then solve for the value of the function:
)
) )

2
2
3
lim 3 4 1 3 3 4 3 1
27 12 1
38
x
x x
p
+ = +
= +
=
EXAMPLE
Evaluate the following limits.
2 x
8 x
lim . 1
3
2 x

Solution:
)
0
0
0
8 8
2 2
8 2
2 x
8 x
li
3
3
2 x
=
+
=
+
+
=
+
+
p
) )
)
) )

2
2
2
2
2
3
2
2 2 4
li
2
li 2 4
2 2 2 4
4 4 4
12
8
li 12
2
x
x
x
x x x
x
x x
x
x

!
!
!
!

@ !

Equivalent function:
(indeterminate)
Note: In evaluating a limit of a quotient which
reduces to , simplify the fraction. Just remove
the common factor in the numerator and
denominator which makes the quotient .
To do this use factoring or rationalizing the
numerator or denominator, wherever the radical is.
0
0
0
0
0
2 2 2 2 0
lim
0 0
x
x
x
p
+
= =
)

0 0
0
0
2 2 2 2 2 2
lim lim
2 2
2 2
1 1 1 2
lim
4
2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2
lim
4
x x
x
x
x x x
x
x
x x
x
x
x
p p
p
p
+ + + +
=
+ +
+ +
= = =
+ + +
+
=
x
2 2 x
lim . 2
0 x
+
p
Solution:
Rationalizing the numerator:
(indeterminate)
9 x 4
27 x 8
lim . 3
2
3
0 x

Solution:
Rationalizing the numerator:
(indeterminate)
3
2
3
3
2 2
3
8 27
8 27 27 27 0 2
lim
4 9 9 9 0
3
4 9
2
x
x
x
p

' '
= = =

' '
)
)
) )
3 3
2 2
3
2
2
3
2
2
2 3 4 6 9
8 27
li li
4 9 2 3 2 3
4 6 9 9 9 9
li
2 3 3 3
27 9 3 3 2
6 2 2
2
x x
x
x x x
x
x x x
x x
x

!

! !

! ! ! !

5 x
3 x 2 x
li . 4
2
3
2 x
+
+ +
p
Solution:
) )
)
3
3
2 2
2
2 2 2 3
2 3
lim
5
2 5
8 4 3
4 5
15
9
15
3
x
x x
x
p
+ +
+ +
=
+
+
+ +
=
+
=
=
EXERCISES
)
) )
)
5 w 4 w
7 w 7 w
li 10.
2 x
8 x
li . 5
19 x 9 x 2 li 9.
4 y
y 8 y 4
li . 4
1 y 2 y
3 y 2 y 1 y
li 8.
1 x
4 x 3 x
li . 3
1 x
3 x 2 x 3 x 2
li 7.
4 x 3 x
1 x 2
li . 2
1 x 9
1 x 3
li 6. 2 x 5 x 4 li . 1
2
2
1 w
3
2 x
2
1
3 4
5 x
3
1
3
2 y
2
2
1 y
3
2
1 x
2
2 3
1 x
2
1 x
2
3
1
x
2
3 x

+ +

'

'

+
+
+
+
+
+ +

+
+
+

+
p p

p p
p p
p p
p
p
Evaluate the following limits.