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2 Graph sketching

After working through this section, you should be able to:

(a) determine the x-intercepts and y-intercept of a given function f;

(b) determine the intervals on which a given function f is positive or

negative;

(c) determine the intervals on which a given function f is increasing or

decreasing, and any points at which f has a local maximum or local

minimum;

(d) describe the asymptotic behaviour (if any) of a given function f;

(e) sketch the graph of a given function.

In this section we consider the problem of sketching the graphs of functions

that are rather more complicated than the basic functions. We develop the

ideas introduced in the previous section, and give a general strategy that

will enable you to sketch many graphs.

The aim of sketching the graph of a function is to provide a visual

summary of the main properties of the function. Consider, for example,

the function

f(x) =

1

1 x

2

.

By our convention, the domain of this function is the set of all real

numbers excluding 1 and 1; it consists of the three intervals (, 1),

(1, 1) and (1, ).

A sketch of the graph of this function is shown below.

Several key properties of the function f can be seen from this graph.

1. The domain of f consists of the three intervals

(, 1), (1, 1), (1, ).

2. The graph is symmetric about the y-axis, so f is even.

3. The graph of f crosses the y-axis when y = f(0) = 1;

The graph of f does not cross the x-axis.

18

Section 2 Graph sketching

4. f takes positive values on the interval (1, 1);

f takes negative values on the intervals (, 1) and (1, ).

5. f is increasing on the intervals (0, 1) and (1, );

f is decreasing on the intervals (, 1) and (1, 0);

f has a local minimum at 0.

6. As x approaches 1 from the left or 1 from the right, f(x) becomes

very large and positive;

as x approaches 1 from the right or 1 from the left, f(x) becomes

very large and negative;

as x becomes large and positive or large and negative, f(x) gets closer

and closer to 0.

When sketching a graph, we do not aim to achieve the detailed accuracy of

a computer plot, but instead to represent important features such as those

listed above. But how do we identify these features?

2.1 Determining features of a graph

We discuss how to determine the possible features of a graph in turn.

Domain

When the domain of a function is not given, we use our convention and

take the domain to be the set of all real numbers for which the given rule

is applicable. So the domain is the set of all real numbers, excluding any

numbers which give an expression which is not denedfor example, a

zero in the denominator of a rational function, or the square root of a

negative number.

Symmetry features

In the audio section, we saw that a graph may possess certain types of

symmetry:

For a periodic function, such as a trigonometric function, the graph

is unchanged by a translation along the x-axis through the period,

p say:

f(x + p) = f(x).

For an even function, the graph is unchanged by reection in the

y-axis:

f(x) = f(x).

For an odd function, the graph is unchanged by rotation through an

angle about the origin:

f(x) = f(x).

Intercepts

An intercept is a value of x or y at which the graph y = f(x) of a

function f meets the x- or y-axis, respectively. The x-intercepts are the

solutions (if any) of the equation f(x) = 0 and are also known as the zeros

of f. The y-intercept is the value f(0), if this exists.

19

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

It is usually straightforward to nd the y-intercept, but harder to nd the

x-intercepts, since this involves solving the equation f(x) = 0. This

equation is not always possible to solve algebraically, but it is usually

possible to obtain estimates for the solutions by nding intervals of the

domain in which the values of the function f change sign.

Intervals on which a function has constant sign

We now consider how to determine the intervals on which the values of a

function have constant sign. We make the following denitions.

Denitions Let f be a real function with domain A. Then

f is positive on an interval I in A if f(x) > 0 for all x in I;

f is negative on an interval I in A if f(x) < 0 for all x in I;

f has a zero at the point a in A if f(a) = 0.

Sometimes we can nd the intervals on which a polynomial or rational

function has constant sign by constructing a sign table for f(x).

For example, consider the function

f(x) =

1

1 x

2

.

We can factorise f(x):

f(x) =

1

(1 x)(1 + x)

,

and construct the following sign table. In the left-hand column of the table

are the factors that appear in f(x). In the top row are the key values of x

at which the factors change sign, and the intervals on either side of these

key values. The signs of the various factors are shown in the table by +,

or 0, from which the sign of f(x) may be deduced.

x (, 1) 1 (1, 1) 1 (1, )

1 x + + + 0

1 + x 0 + + +

f(x) +

We use the symbol to indicate

a point which is not in the

domain.

We deduce that

f has no zeros;

f is positive on the interval (1, 1);

f is negative on the intervals (, 1) and (1, ).

20

Section 2 Graph sketching

For quadratic functions, if we cannot factorise the function we can

sometimes nd out whether it always has the same sign by completing the Frame 2 of the audio section sets

this out as

a(x )

2

+ , where

=

b

2a

, =

4ac b

2

4a

.

You may, of course, use either

formulation as you prefer.

square. If the quadratic function is ax

2

+ bx + c, we can rewrite it as

follows.

ax

2

+ bx + c = a

x

2

+

b

a

x

+ c = a

x +

b

2a

2

a

b

2a

2

+ c

So, for example,

2x

2

+ 12x + 19 = 2(x

2

+ 6x) + 19

= 2(x + 3)

2

2 3

2

+ 19

= 2(x + 3)

2

+ 1.

From this, we can see that, whatever the value of x,

2x

2

+ 12x + 19 = 2(x + 3)

2

+ 1

is always positive.

Exercise 2.1 Complete the square on the following quadratic

functions.

(a) x

2

6x + 11 (b) 3x

2

+ 12x 1

Intervals on which a function is increasing or decreasing

We referred to functions which are increasing or decreasing on a particular

interval in Section 1, but did not give a denition. We now do this.

Denitions

A function f is increasing on an interval I, if for all x

1

, x

2

I,

if x

1

< x

2

, then f(x

1

) f(x

2

).

A function f is strictly increasing on an interval I, if for all

x

1

, x

2

I,

if x

1

< x

2

, then f(x

1

) < f(x

2

).

A function f is decreasing on an interval I, if for all x

1

, x

2

I,

if x

1

< x

2

, then f(x

1

) f(x

2

).

A function f is strictly decreasing on an interval I, if for all

x

1

, x

2

I,

if x

1

< x

2

, then f(x

1

) > f(x

2

).

We can sometimes determine the intervals on which a function is increasing What it means to be

dierentiable will be dened in

the analysis blocks. For the

moment you can assume that a

function is dierentiable if it can

be dierentiated by the usual

methods.

or decreasing by inspection of the rule of the function. For example, the

function f(x) = x

3

is increasing on R because x

3

increases as x increases.

For a dierentiable function, however, we can use the derivative of the

function to identify these intervals.

Increasing/decreasing criterion

1. If f

on I.

2. If f

decreasing on I.

21

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

f is (strictly) increasing on the

intervals (a, b) and (c, d).

f is (strictly) decreasing on the

interval (b, c).

f

(b) = f

(c) = 0.

We can determine the intervals on which f is increasing or decreasing by

drawing up a sign table for f

which f

value a such that the tangent to the graph is horizontal at the point

(a, f(a)).

A stationary point need not be a local maximum or a local minimum. For

example, f(x) = x

3

has a stationary point at 0, with f(0) = 0, but has

neither a local maximum nor a local minimum at 0. In fact, it has what we

call a horizontal point of inection.

f has a local maximum at b.

f has a local minimum at c.

f has a horizontal point of

inection at d.

We can check whether a stationary point is a local maximum, a local

minimum or a horizontal point of inection by using the following test.

First Derivative Test Suppose that a is a stationary point of a

dierentiable function f; that is, f

(a) = 0.

If f

through a, then f has a local maximum at a.

If f

through a, then f has a local minimum at a.

If f

through a (except at a itself, where f

horizontal point of inection at a. f

things.

Let us return to the function f(x) =

1

1 x

2

. To nd the intervals on which

the function is increasing and decreasing we use the quotient rule to give You will nd a table of standard

derivatives in the Handbook,

and also a list of the rules for

dierentiating functions. We

assume that you have met

dierentiation in your previous

mathematical studies.

f

(x) =

2x

(1 x

2

)

2

=

2x

(1 x

2

)

2

.

22

Section 2 Graph sketching

The sign table for f

(x) is as follows.

x (, 1) 1 (1, 0) 0 (0, 1) 1 (1, )

2x 0 + + +

(1 x

2

)

2

+ 0 + + + 0 +

f

(x) 0 + +

In this case there is no need to

factorise (1 x

2

)

2

, since

(1 x

2

)

2

0.

We nd that

f has a stationary point at 0;

f is increasing on the intervals (0, 1) and (1, );

f is decreasing on the intervals (, 1) and (1, 0).

We deduce that f has a local minimum at 0, by the First Derivative Test.

Asymptotic behaviour of functions

For a function f, the term asymptotic behaviour refers to the behaviour

of points on the graph of y = f(x) for which the variable x or the variable

y take arbitrarily large values.

For example, we consider how to determine the features of the graph of the

function f(x) =

1

1 x

2

as x or y approaches .

The computer plot shown on the left below uses a join-the-dots approach

to generate the graph of this function. The computer plot is inaccurate

near the missing points x = 1 and x = 1, since it shows vertical lines at

x = 1 and x = 1 as parts of the graph, whereas we know that the

function is not dened at these points. It is common for computer plots of A computer plot always assumes

that the curve has no breaks,

and tries to join the curve up

accordingly.

graphs to give misleading results near such dicult points. By contrast,

the sketch of this graph on the right indicates the behaviour of the

function f near the points 1 and 1 by the use of broken vertical lines.

The plot on the left was

generated by Mathcad. We have

added axes for clarity.

A broken line is used when the graph of a function has an

asymptotethat is, a straight line which is approached more and more

closely by the graph when the domain variable x or the codomain variable

y (or both) takes very large values.

An asymptote with an equation of the form x = a is a vertical

asymptote. For example, in the above graph, the lines x = 1 and x = 1

are vertical asymptotes.

An asymptote with an equation of the form y = b is a horizontal

asymptote. For example, in the above graph, the line y = 0 is a When one of the axes is an

asymptote, as in this case, it is

not represented by a broken line.

horizontal asymptote.

23

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

The behaviour of a function f near a vertical asymptote x = a may take

various forms. For the above example, we describe the behaviour near the

vertical asymptote x = 1 as follows.

f(x) takes arbitrarily large positive values

as x tends to 1 from the right;

we write this in symbols as

f(x) as x 1

+

,

and read it as

f(x) tends to innity as x tends to 1 from the right.

Similarly,

f(x) takes arbitrarily large negative values

as x tends to 1 from the left;

we write this in symbols as

f(x) as x 1

,

and read it as

f(x) tends to minus innity as x tends to 1 from the left.

General versions of these statements are illustrated below, together with Intuitive statements of this

nature will be formally dened

in Analysis Block A.

similar statements for vertical and for horizontal asymptotes.

In the second example, the

graph crosses the asymptote.

These diagrams illustrate asymptotic behaviour.

Exercise 2.2 Write down four more statements describing the types

of asymptotic behaviour displayed by the function f(x) =

1

1 x

2

.

There are other types of behaviour that a function may exhibit as the

domain variable x takes large positive or negative values.

24

Section 2 Graph sketching

Exercise 2.3 Describe the asymptotic behaviour of the following

functions.

In general, the behaviour of a polynomial function of degree n,

f(x) = a

n

x

n

+ a

n1

x

n1

+ + a

1

x + a

0

, where a

n

= 0,

for large values of x, is similar to that of the term a

n

x

n

. We call x

n

the It is x

n

rather than a

n

x

n

that

we are calling the dominant

term. Thus, for example, the

expressions 3x

3

2x

2

+ 1 and

4x

3

+ 5x 3 have the same

dominant term, namely x

3

.

dominant term. This behaviour is summarised in the following tables.

a

n

> 0 x x

n even f(x) f(x)

n odd f(x) f(x)

a

n

< 0 x x

n even f(x) f(x)

n odd f(x) f(x)

A rational function is a function dened by a rule of the form The function x

1

1 x

2

is an

example of a rational function,

with p(x) = 1 and q(x) = 1 x

2

.

x

p(x)

q(x)

,

where both p and q are polynomial functions. Locating vertical and

horizontal asymptotes is an important step in sketching the graph of any

rational function. Vertical asymptotes occur at the values of x for which

q(x) = 0 and p(x) = 0, and horizontal asymptotes may occur when x

or x .

To nd the behaviour of a rational function for large values of x, we divide

both the numerator and denominator by the dominant term of the

denominator. If the dominant term of the numerator is a higher power

than that of the denominator, then there will be no horizontal asymptote,

whereas if it is a lower power than that of the denominator, then the line

y = 0 will be the horizontal asymptote. The situation is more complicated

if the numerator and denominator have the same dominant term; this is

illustrated by later examples.

25

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

2.2 Strategy for graph sketching

We begin this subsection by summarising basic features which a sketch of a

graph should convey, in the form of a strategy, and then we illustrate the

strategy with several worked examples.

Strategy 2.1 Graph-sketching strategy

To sketch the graph of a given function f, determine the following

features of f (where possible), and show these features in your sketch.

1. The domain of f. All the periodic functions that

you will meet in this course will

involve a trigonometric function

(sine, cosine, tangent, cotangent,

secant or cosecant), so there is

no need to investigate whether f

is periodic unless one of these

expressions appears in the rule.

2. Whether f is even, odd or periodic (or none of these).

3. The x-intercepts and y-intercept of f.

4. The intervals on which f is positive or negative.

5. The intervals on which f is increasing or decreasing, the nature of

any stationary points, and the value of f at each of these points.

6. The asymptotic behaviour of f.

Remarks

1. It is important to begin by determining the domain of f. For example,

if the domain is [3, 9], then f is neither even nor odd, and you cannot

nd the behaviour of f as x .

2. We have numbered the features for easy reference, but it is not

necessary to nd them in the order given above. Indeed, for some

graphs, not all the above features are relevant.

For some graphs, we can obtain sucient information without

including all the steps. However, it is useful to obtain information in

more than one way, in order to provide a check.

3. Choose the scales on your axes with care: usually, the scales should be

the same on both axes, but it may be necessary to have unequal scales

in order to display some key features of the graphfor example, when

f(x) is much larger than x.

Our rst example to illustrate Strategy 2.1 is a polynomial function.

Example 2.1 Sketch the graph of the function

f(x) = 4x

3

+ 3x

2

6x + 4.

Solution

1. By our convention, the domain of f is R.

2. The function is neither even nor odd, since, for example,

f(1) = 5, but f(1) = 9.

There is no trigonometric function involved, so it is not periodic. In future, we shall not normally

mention that f is not periodic

unless a trigonometric function

is involved.

3. To nd the x-intercepts of f we need to solve the equation f(x) = 0,

that is

4x

3

+ 3x

2

6x + 4 = 0.

There are no obvious factors for the expression on the left, so we We tried various values of x for

which f(x) was easy to calculate,

and chose these particular values

of x because the values of f are

positive at one value of x and

negative at the other.

cannot easily nd the zeros. However,

f(2) = 4 and f(0) = 4,

26

Section 2 Graph sketching

so f(x) changes from negative to positive as x increases from 2 to 0.

Thus there is an x-intercept in the interval (2, 0). The y-intercept is

f(0) = 4.

4. Because we cannot nd the zeros of f, we cannot nd the intervals on

which f is positive or negative. However, we know from step 3 that the

sign of f changes from negative to positive as x increases from 2 to 0.

5. Dierentiating gives

f

(x) = 12x

2

+ 6x 6 = 6(2x

2

+ x 1) = 6(2x 1)(x + 1).

We construct a sign table for f

(x).

x (, 1) 1 (1,

1

2

)

1

2

(

1

2

, )

6(2x 1) 0 +

x + 1 0 + + +

f

(x) + 0 0 +

From the sign table we see that

f is increasing on the intervals (, 1) and (

1

2

, );

f is decreasing on the interval (1,

1

2

);

f has stationary points at 1 and

1

2

.

By the First Derivative Test, we deduce that

there is a local maximum at x = 1 with f(1) = 9;

there is a local minimum at x =

1

2

with f

1

2

=

9

4

.

6. The degree of the polynomial function is odd and the coecient of x

3

is positive, so the rst table for the asymptotic behaviour of

polynomial functions on page 25 gives

f(x) as x and f(x) as x .

This information enables us to sketch the graph.

The results of steps 4 and 5 show that the graph of f crosses the x-axis at

only one point.

Exercise 2.4 Sketch the graph of the polynomial function Hint: Putting t = x

2

, the

expression becomes t

2

2t + 3.

f(x) = x

4

2x

2

+ 3.

Next, we sketch the graph of a linear rational function.

27

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

Example 2.2 Sketch the graph of the function

f(x) =

2x 3

x 1

.

Solution

1. By our convention, the domain of f is R, excluding 1; that is, it

consists of the intervals (, 1) and (1, ).

2. The function is neither even nor odd, since its domain is not

symmetric about 0; for example,

f(1) =

5

2

, but f is not dened at x = 1.

3. f(x) = 0 when 2x 3 = 0, so the x-intercept is

3

2

.

f(0) = 3/(1) = 3, so the y-intercept is 3.

4. We construct a sign table for f(x).

x (, 1) 1 (1,

3

2

)

3

2

(

3

2

, )

2x 3 0 +

x 1 0 + + +

f(x) + 0 +

So

f is positive on the intervals (, 1) and (

3

2

, );

f is negative on the interval (1,

3

2

).

5. Using the rule for dierentiating a quotient, we obtain

f

(x) =

(x 1)2 (2x 3)1

(x 1)

2

=

1

(x 1)

2

.

The derivative f

is undened at 1, and f

Thus

f is increasing on the intervals (, 1) and (1, );

f has no stationary points.

6. The denominator is 0 when x = 1, so

the line x = 1 is a vertical asymptote.

Thus, by the results of step 4 (or step 5), From step 4, f(x) is positive as

x tends to 1

, and f(x) is

negative as x tends to 1

+

.

f(x) as x 1

and f(x) as x 1

+

.

To nd the behaviour of f(x) for large positive or negative values of x,

we divide both the numerator and denominator of f(x) by the

dominant term of the denominator, x: This division is permitted, since

x = 0.

f(x) =

2x 3

x 1

=

2 3/x

1 1/x

.

Now 1/x 0 as x , so We write as x as

shorthand for as x and

as x .

f(x)

2 (3 0)

1 0

=

2 0

1 0

= 2 as x .

Thus

the line y = 2 is a horizontal asymptote,

and

f(x) 2 as x .

28

Section 2 Graph sketching

This information enables us to sketch the graph.

This function can also be written as f(x) = 2

1

x 1

.

Exercise 2.5 Sketch the graph of the linear rational function

f(x) =

x 3

2 x

.

Exercise 2.6 Sketch the graph of the linear rational function

f(x) =

4x + 1

3x 5

.

Next, we sketch the graph of a more complicated rational function.

Example 2.3 Sketch the graph of the function

f(x) =

x

2

5x + 4

x

2

+ 5x + 4

.

Solution

1. We factorise f(x) as follows.

f(x) =

x

2

5x + 4

x

2

+ 5x + 4

=

(x 1)(x 4)

(x + 1)(x + 4)

Thus the domain of f is R, excluding 1 and 4; it consists of the

intervals (, 4), (4, 1) and (1, ).

2. The function is neither even nor odd, since for example, Alternatively, observe that the

domain is not symmetric

about 0.

f(2) =

1

9

, but f(2) = 9.

3. f(x) = 0 when (x 1)(x 4) = 0, so the x-intercepts are 1 and 4.

f(0) = 4/4 = 1, so the y-intercept is 1.

4. We construct a sign table for f(x).

x (, 4) 4 (4, 1) 1 (1, 1) 1 (1, 4) 4 (4, )

x 1 0 + + +

x 4 0 +

x + 1 0 + + + + +

x + 4 0 + + + + + + +

f(x) + + 0 0 +

So

f is positive on the intervals (, 4), (1, 1) and (4, );

f is negative on the intervals (4, 1) and (1, 4).

29

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

5. Using the quotient rule, we dierentiate f(x) as follows.

f

(x) =

(2x 5)(x

2

+ 5x + 4) (x

2

5x + 4)(2x + 5)

(x

2

+ 5x + 4)

2

=

(2x

3

+ 10x

2

+ 8x 5x

2

25x 20) (2x

3

10x

2

+ 8x + 5x

2

25x + 20)

(x

2

+ 5x + 4)

2

=

10(x

2

4)

(x

2

+ 5x + 4)

2

=

10(x 2)(x + 2)

(x + 1)

2

(x + 4)

2

We construct a sign table for f

(x).

x (, 4) 4 (4, 2) 2 (2, 1) 1 (1, 2) 2 (2, )

10(x 2) 0 +

x + 2 0 + + + + +

(x + 1)

2

+ + + + + 0 + + +

(x + 4)

2

+ 0 + + + + + + +

f

(x) + + 0 0 +

So

f is increasing on the intervals (, 4), (4, 2) and (2, );

f is decreasing on the intervals (2, 1) and (1, 2);

f has stationary points at 2 and 2.

By the First Derivative Test, we deduce that

there is a local maximum at x = 2 with f(2) = 9;

there is a local minimum at x = 2 with f(2) =

1

9

.

6. The denominator is 0 when x = 4 and x = 1, so

the line x = 4 is a vertical asymptote;

the line x = 1 is a vertical asymptote.

Thus, by the results of step 4,

f(x) as x 4

and f(x) as x 4

+

;

f(x) as x 1

and f(x) as x 1

+

.

To nd the behaviour of f(x) for large values of x, we divide both the

numerator and denominator of f(x) by the dominant term of the

denominator, x

2

:

f(x) =

1 5/x + 4/x

2

1 + 5/x + 4/x

2

, for x = 0.

Now 1/x 0 as x and 1/x

2

0 as x , so

f(x)

1 (5 0) + (4 0)

1 + (5 0) + (4 0)

=

1 0 + 0

1 + 0 + 0

= 1 as x .

Thus

the line y = 1 is a horizontal asymptote,

and

f(x) 1 as x .

30

Section 2 Graph sketching

This information enables us to sketch the graph.

Exercise 2.7 Sketch the graph of the rational function

f(x) =

1

x(x + 1)

2

.

Finally we use Strategy 2.1 to sketch the graph of a function which is not

rational.

Example 2.4 Sketch the graph of the function

f(x) =

x

x

2

+ 1

.

Solution

1. The domain of f is R, since x

2

+ 1 > 0 for all x in R.

2. f is odd, since

f(x) =

x

(x)

2

+ 1

=

x

x

2

+ 1

= f(x) for all x in R.

3. The solution of f(x) = 0, that is x/

x

2

+ 1 = 0, is x = 0, so the

x-intercept and the y-intercept are both 0. That is, the graph crosses

the axes only at the origin.

4. Since f(x) has the same sign as x,

f is positive on the interval (0, );

f is negative on the interval (, 0).

5. Using the quotient rule, we obtain

f

(x) =

x

2

+ 1 x(

1

2

(x

2

+ 1)

1/2

2x)

x

2

+ 1

=

x

2

+ 1 x

2

(x

2

+ 1)

3/2

=

1

(x

2

+ 1)

3/2

. We have multiplied the

numerator and denominator by

(x

2

+ 1)

1/2

.

So f

f is increasing on R.

In addition, f

(0) is not

part of Strategy 2.1, here it is

easy to do and helps with the

sketch.

31

Unit I1 Real functions and graphs

6. To nd the behaviour of f(x) for large positive values of x, we divide

both the numerator and denominator of f(x) by the dominant term of

the denominator, x:

f(x) =

1

1 + 1/x

2

, for x > 0.

So Dividing the denominator by x

implies that, within the

square-root sign, we divide

by x

2

, and this allows us to

determine the limit as x .

Dont worry if you nd this

tricky to follow: you will not be

assessed on such a dicult

graph.

f(x) 1 as x .

Thus

the line y = 1 is a horizontal asymptote.

Since f is odd,

f(x) 1 as x .

Thus

the line y = 1 is a horizontal asymptote.

This information enables us to sketch the graph.

Earlier in this section we introduced the First Derivative Test to determine

whether a given stationary point gives a local maximum, local minimum or

neither. There is an alternative test for a local maximum or local You may have met this test if

you have studied calculus

previously.

minimum, using the second derivative of the function f.

Second Derivative Test Suppose that a is a stationary point of a

dierentiable function f; that is, f

twice-dierentiable function.

1. If f

2. If f

This test can be very ecient as a means of classifying stationary points.

However, for some functions it is too complicated to nd the second

derivative. Moreover, if f

no result; the stationary point may be a local maximum, a local minimum,

or neither in this case. This is why the Strategy 2.1 uses the First

Derivative Test.

Further exercises

Sketch the graph of each of the following functions.

Exercise 2.8 f(x) =

1

5

x

5

x

3

Exercise 2.9 f(x) =

4x + 3

x 7

32

Section 3 New graphs from old

Exercise 2.10 f(x) =

2x

x

2

+ x 2

Exercise 2.11 f(x) =

1

1 + x

2

3 New graphs from old

After working through this section, you should be able to:

(a) sketch the graph of a combination of two functions, one of which is

a trigonometric function;

(b) sketch the graph of a hybrid function, whose rule is dened by

dierent formulas on dierent parts of its domain.

3.1 Further graph-sketching techniques

We rst illustrate some techniques for sketching the graph of a

combination of two functions, one of which is a trigonometric function. As

far as possible, we follow the steps of Strategy 2.1 but in some examples,

part or all of some steps are not necessary. In particular, we try to avoid

dierentiating anything dicult! We can also exploit the known features of

the trigonometric functions, such as the fact that the values of sinx and

cos x oscillate (with period 2) between the values 1 and 1. Because of

this oscillation it is often convenient to use other simple graphs as

construction lines. So, for this subsection, we add another step to

Strategy 2.1 as follows.

Strategy 3.1 Extended graph-sketching strategy

To sketch the graph of a given function f, determine the following

features of f (where possible), and show these features in your sketch.

1. The domain of f.

2. Whether f is even, odd or periodic (or none of these).

3. The x-intercepts and y-intercept of f.

4. The intervals on which f is positive or negative.

5. The intervals on which f is increasing or decreasing, the nature of

any stationary points and the value of f at each of these points.

6. The asymptotic behaviour of f.

7. Any appropriate construction lines, and the points where f meets

these lines.

The following example illustrates Strategy 3.1.

Example 3.1 Sketch the graph of the function

f(x) = xsin x.

33

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