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Why does the horizontal line test tell us whether the graph of a function is one-to-one?

When a horizontal line intersects the graph of a function more than once, that indicates that for that output there is more than one input. A function is one-to-one if each output corresponds to only one input.

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Algebraic

For the following exercises, determine whether the relation represents a function.

{ ( a , b ) ,   ( c , d ) ,   ( a , c ) }

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{ ( a , b ) , ( b , c ) , ( c , c ) }

function

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For the following exercises, determine whether the relation represents y as a function of x .

y = 2 x 2 + 40 x

function

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x = 3 y + 5 7 y 1

function

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y = 3 x + 5 7 x 1

function

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y 2 = x 2

not a function

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For the following exercises, evaluate the function f at the indicated values   f ( −3 ) , f ( 2 ) , f ( a ) , f ( a ) , f ( a + h ) .

f ( x ) = 2 x 5

f ( 3 ) = 11 ; f ( 2 ) = 1 ; f ( a ) = 2 a 5 ; f ( a ) = 2 a + 5 ; f ( a + h ) = 2 a + 2 h 5

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f ( x ) = 5 x 2 + 2 x 1

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f ( x ) = 2 x + 5

f ( 3 ) = 5 + 5 ; f ( 2 ) = 5 ; f ( a ) = 2 + a + 5 ; f ( a ) = 2 a 5 ; f ( a + h ) = 2 a h + 5

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f ( x ) = 6 x 1 5 x + 2

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f ( x ) = | x 1 | | x + 1 |

f ( 3 ) = 2 ; f ( 2 ) = 1 3 = 2 ; f ( a ) = | a 1 | | a + 1 | ; f ( a ) = | a 1 | + | a + 1 | ;   f ( a + h ) = | a + h 1 | | a + h + 1 |

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Given the function g ( x ) = 5 x 2 , simplify g ( x + h ) g ( x ) h , h 0.

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Given the function g ( x ) = x 2 + 2 x , simplify g ( x ) g ( a ) x a , x a .

g ( x ) g ( a ) x a = x + a + 2 , x a

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Given the function k ( t ) = 2 t 1 :

  1. Evaluate k ( 2 ) .
  2. Solve k ( t ) = 7.
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Given the function f ( x ) = 8 3 x :

  1. Evaluate f ( 2 ) .
  2. Solve f ( x ) = −1.

a. f ( 2 ) = 14 ; b. x = 3

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Given the function p ( c ) = c 2 + c :

  1. Evaluate p ( −3 ) .
  2. Solve p ( c ) = 2.
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Given the function f ( x ) = x 2 3 x :

  1. Evaluate f ( 5 ) .
  2. Solve f ( x ) = 4.

a. f ( 5 ) = 10 ; b. x = 1   or   x = 4

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Given the function f ( x ) = x + 2 :

  1. Evaluate f ( 7 ) .
  2. Solve f ( x ) = 4.
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Consider the relationship 3 r + 2 t = 18.

  1. Write the relationship as a function r = f ( t ) .
  2. Evaluate f ( −3 ) .
  3. Solve f ( t ) = 2.

a. f ( t ) = 6 2 3 t ; b. f ( 3 ) = 8 ; c. t = 6

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Graphical

For the following exercises, use the vertical line test to determine which graphs show relations that are functions.

Given the following graph,

  • Evaluate f ( −1 ) .
  • Solve for f ( x ) = 3.

Graph of relation.
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Given the following graph,

  • Evaluate f ( 0 ) .
  • Solve for f ( x ) = −3.

Graph of relation.

a. f ( 0 ) = 1 ; b. f ( x ) = 3 , x = 2   or   x = 2

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Given the following graph,

  • Evaluate f ( 4 ) .
  • Solve for f ( x ) = 1.

Graph of relation.
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For the following exercises, determine if the given graph is a one-to-one function.

Graph of a circle.

not a function so it is also not a one-to-one function

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Graph of a one-to-one function.

function, but not one-to-one

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Numeric

For the following exercises, determine whether the relation represents a function.

{ ( −1 , −1 ) , ( −2 , −2 ) , ( −3 , −3 ) }

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{ ( 3 , 4 ) , ( 4 , 5 ) , ( 5 , 6 ) }

function

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{ ( 2 , 5 ) , ( 7 , 11 ) , ( 15 , 8 ) , ( 7 , 9 ) }

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For the following exercises, determine if the relation represented in table form represents y as a function of x .

x 5 10 15
y 3 8 14

function

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x 5 10 10
y 3 8 14

not a function

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For the following exercises, use the function f represented in [link] .

x f ( x )
0 74
1 28
2 1
3 53
4 56
5 3
6 36
7 45
8 14
9 47

Solve f ( x ) = 1.

f ( x ) = 1 , x = 2

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For the following exercises, evaluate the function f at the values f ( 2 ) , f ( −1 ) , f ( 0 ) , f ( 1 ) , and f ( 2 ) .

f ( x ) = 8 3 x

f ( 2 ) = 14 ; f ( 1 ) = 11 ; f ( 0 ) = 8 ; f ( 1 ) = 5 ; f ( 2 ) = 2

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f ( x ) = 8 x 2 7 x + 3

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f ( x ) = 3 + x + 3

f ( 2 ) = 4 ;    f ( 1 ) = 4.414 ; f ( 0 ) = 4.732 ; f ( 1 ) = 4.5 ; f ( 2 ) = 5.236

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f ( x ) = 3 x

f ( 2 ) = 1 9 ; f ( 1 ) = 1 3 ; f ( 0 ) = 1 ; f ( 1 ) = 3 ; f ( 2 ) = 9

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For the following exercises, evaluate the expressions, given functions f , g , and h :

  • f ( x ) = 3 x 2
  • g ( x ) = 5 x 2
  • h ( x ) = −2 x 2 + 3 x 1

3 f ( 1 ) 4 g ( 2 )

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f ( 7 3 ) h ( 2 )

20

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Technology

For the following exercises, graph y = x 2 on the given viewing window. Determine the corresponding range for each viewing window. Show each graph.

[ 10 ,  10 ]

[ 0 ,  100 ]

Graph of a parabola.
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For the following exercises, graph y = x 3 on the given viewing window. Determine the corresponding range for each viewing window. Show each graph.

[ 0.1 ,  0 .1 ]

[ 0.001 ,  0 .001 ]

Graph of a parabola.
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[ 100 ,  100 ]

[ 1 , 000 , 000 ,  1,000,000 ]

Graph of a cubic function.
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For the following exercises, graph y = x on the given viewing window. Determine the corresponding range for each viewing window. Show each graph.

[ 0 ,  100 ]

[ 0 ,  10 ]

Graph of a square root function.
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For the following exercises, graph y = x 3 on the given viewing window. Determine the corresponding range for each viewing window. Show each graph.

[ −0.001 , 0.001 ]

[ −0.1 , 0.1 ]

Graph of a square root function.
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[ −1,000,000 , 1,000,000 ]

[ 100 ,  100 ]

Graph of a cubic root function.
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Real-world applications

The amount of garbage, G , produced by a city with population p is given by G = f ( p ) . G is measured in tons per week, and p is measured in thousands of people.

  1. The town of Tola has a population of 40,000 and produces 13 tons of garbage each week. Express this information in terms of the function f .
  2. Explain the meaning of the statement f ( 5 ) = 2.
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The number of cubic yards of dirt, D , needed to cover a garden with area a square feet is given by D = g ( a ) .

  1. A garden with area 5000 ft 2 requires 50 yd 3 of dirt. Express this information in terms of the function g .
  2. Explain the meaning of the statement g ( 100 ) = 1.

a. g ( 5000 ) = 50 ; b. The number of cubic yards of dirt required for a garden of 100 square feet is 1.

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Let f ( t ) be the number of ducks in a lake t years after 1990. Explain the meaning of each statement:

  1. f ( 5 ) = 30
  2. f ( 10 ) = 40
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Let h ( t ) be the height above ground, in feet, of a rocket t seconds after launching. Explain the meaning of each statement:

  1. h ( 1 ) = 200
  2. h ( 2 ) = 350

a. The height of a rocket above ground after 1 second is 200 ft. b. the height of a rocket above ground after 2 seconds is 350 ft.

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Show that the function f ( x ) = 3 ( x 5 ) 2 + 7 is not one-to-one.

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Questions & Answers

12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Alexandra Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Akash
College algebra is really hard?
Shirleen Reply
Absolutely, for me. My problems with math started in First grade...involving a nun Sister Anastasia, bad vision, talking & getting expelled from Catholic school. When it comes to math I just can't focus and all I can hear is our family silverware banging and clanging on the pink Formica table.
Carole
find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
salma
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
Abhi
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
ninjadapaul
20/(×-6^2)
Salomon
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
ninjadapaul
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
ninjadapaul
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
Salomon
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
Salomon
I got X =-6
Salomon
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
ninjadapaul
oops. ignore that.
ninjadapaul
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
ninjadapaul
hmm
Abhi
is it a question of log
Abhi
🤔.
Abhi
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
salma
But this is not salma it's Faiza live in lousvile Ky I garbage this so I am going collage with JCTC that the of the collage thank you my friends
salma
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
hello
Sherica
im all ears I need to learn
Sherica
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
Tamia
hii
Uday
hi
salma
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
Kim
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Al
y=10×
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, College algebra. OpenStax CNX. Feb 06, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11759/1.3
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