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HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.

INEQUALITIES
1.

A brief revision
It is defined that all positive numbers are greater than zero and all negative numbers are less than zero, and
that for any real numbers a and b.
(i)

a > b if and only if a - b > 0

(ii)

a < b if and only if a - b < 0

The symbol a b denotes that a > b or a = b, and a b denotes that a < b or a = b.


The following are fundamental properties of inequalities:
(1)

Law of trichotomy
For any two real numbers a and b, one and only one of the following must hold,
a>b

(2)

or

a<b

or

a=b

Law of transitivity
If a > b and b > c then a > c.

2.

(3)

If a > b then a c > b c.

(4)

If a > b and c > d then a + c > b + d.

(5)

> bc if c > 0
If a > b then ac
< bc if c < 0.

(6)

If a > b 0 and c > d 0 , then ac > bd.

(7)

>
a
If a > b then
c
<

b
c
b
c

if c > 0
if c < 0 .

(8)

If a > b 0 then for any positive integer n, a n > b n and n a > n b .

(9)

If a > b and a, b are of the same sign, then

1 1
< .
a b

(10)

a
a
> 0 if and only if ab > 0, and < 0 if and only if ab < 0.
b
b

(11)

a
a
0 if and only if ab 0 and b 0, and 0 if and only if ab 0 and b 0.
b
b

The inequality of the means

Definition 2.1

Given any n positive numbers a 1, a 2, , a n , the Arithmetic, Geometric and Harmonic mean are
defined as follows:
Arithmetic Mean (A.M.) =

a1 + a 2 + ... + a n
n

Geometric Mean (G.M.) = n a1 a 2 ... a n


Harmonic Mean (H.M.) =

n
1
1
1
+
+ ... +
a1 a 2
an
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HKCWCC

Theorem 2.1

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.

Given any n positive numbers a 1, a 2, , a n , the A.M. G.M. H.M.


Therefore

a1 + a 2 + ... + a n
n

n a1 a 2 ... a n

n
1
1
1
+
+ ... +
a1 a 2
an

The equality holds if and only if a 1 = a 2 = ... = a n


For details, refer to textbook p.214, 215.

3.
Theorem 3.1

Some well-known inequalities.


Cauchy-Schwarzs Inequality
Let a 1, a 2, , a n and b 1, b 2, b n be real numbers
n
n
n

a 2k b k2
ak bk
k =1 k =1 k =1

The equality holds if and only if

a
a1 a 2
=
= ... = n .
b1 b2
bn

For details, refer to textbook p.222, 223.

Theorem 3.2

Tchebychef s Inequality
If a 1, a 2, , a n and b 1, b 2, b n are two sets of real numbers, arranged in descending order of magnitude,
i.e.

a 1 a 2 ... a n

n
n

a i
bi

i
=
1
i
=
1

n n

then

Theorem 3.3

and b1 b 2 ... b n ,

a i bi

i
=
1

Holders Inequality
In 1889, Otto Holder generalized the Cauchy Inequality to obtain the celebrated Holder s Inequality.
Young s Inequality: If a, b be positive numbers and p, q be non-zero positive rational numbers such
that

1 1
a p bq
+ = 1 , then ab
+
p q
p
q

Holders Inequality: If {x1, x2, , xn}, {y1 , y2, , yn} be two sets of positive numbers and p, q be nonzero positive rational numbers such that

1 1
+ = 1 , then
p q

1 n
1
p p
q q
xi yi (
xi ) (
yi )
i =1
i =1
i =1
n

Remark:

When p = q = 2, the Holder s inequality is reduced to the Cauchy-Schwarz Inequality;

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HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.


n

xi y i ) 2 (

i=1

yi2 )

xi2 ) (

i =1

i =1

Minkowski Inequality

Theorem 3.4

In 1896, the great geometry Hermann Minkowski proposed a famous inequality, known as
Minkowski Inequality.
Minkowski Inequality:

Suppose {x1, x2, x n} and {y1 , y2, , yn} are two sets of positive numbers

and p > 1,
1

n
p n p p n p p
( x i + yi ) p
xi +
yi

i=1

i=1

i=1

4.

Past Paper Review

Example 4.1: (85/AL/Q9)


Let f(x) and g(x) be two functions on the interval [a , b].

By considering the integral of the function

[ f ( x) + g ( x )] 2 on [a, b], set up a quadratic inequalities in the parameter .


2
b

b 2
b 2

a f ( x) g ( x) dx a f ( x) dx a g ( x) dx

(a)

Show that

(b)

Let f(x) be a non-constant function with continuous derivative [0, 1] satisfying f(0) = 0 and f(1) =0.
x

0 f ' (t)dt = x f ' (t)dt

(i)

Show that

(ii)

Hence show that

for any x [0, 1]

[ f ( x )]2 x 2 [ f ' ( t) ]2 dt
0

and [ f ( x )] (1 x) 1 [ f ' (t ) ] dt

(iii)

Hence, show that

if any x [0, ]
if any x [, 1]

[ f ( x) ]2 dx 1 [ f ' ( x) ]2 dx
8 0

Example 4.2: (86/HL/GM/Q3)


Let a and b be positive real numbers such that a + b = 1
(a)

Using A.M. G. M., or otherwise, show that ab

(b)

If 0 < x y 1 , show that x +

(c)

(i)

(ii)

Show that

1
.
4

1
1
1 17
y + .(*). By putting x = ab in (*) show that ab +

x
y
ab 4

a b
1
1
1
1
+ 2 and ( a + ) 2 + (b + ) 2 2 ( a + )( b + )
b a
a
b
a
b

1
1
25
Using the results in (b) and (c)(i), show that ( a + ) 2 + (b + ) 2
a
b
2
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HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.

Example 4.3: (84/HL/Q2)


(a)

Let p 1 , show that, for k > 0


1

<

(k + 1) p

k +1 1
1
dx <
p
p
k

n+ 2

Hence show that

k=2 k

(b)

<

n +2 1
p +
n +1

1
( x 1) p

+ ... +

n +1

1
dx <

p
p
( x n)
k =1 k

Using (a), show that


n +1

(i)

k > ln(n + 2)
1

k =1
n +1

(ii)

k p < 1+ p 1
1

when p > 1.

k =1

Example 4.4: (86/HL/Q3)


1 2
( x + y 2 ) for any two real numbers x and y.
2

(a)

Show that xy

(b)

Let a 1, a 2, a n and b 1, b 2, , b n be positive real numbers.


(i)

ak

If Ak =

and B k =

ai2

bk

for k = 1, 2, n .

bi2

i =1

i =1

prove that

Ak B k 1
k =1

(ii)

Hence show that a k b k


k =1

b1 b2
=
= ... =
a1 a 2
(c)

n
n

a 2k b k2 and that the equality holds if and only if


k =1 k =1

bn
an

Let , , be positive real numbers such that + + =


Show that

tan

tan + tan tan + tan tan = 1 .


2
2
2
2
2
2

By using b(ii), or otherwise, deduce that tan 2 ( ) + tan 2 ( ) + tan 2 ( ) 1 .


2
2
2

Example 4.5: (88/HL/Q7)


x
is strictly increasing function on ( -1, ).
1+ x

(a)

Show that f ( x ) =

(b)

Show that for any non-negative real numbers x1, x2, xn.

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HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.


x1 + x 2 + ... + xn

1 + x1 + x 2 + ... + xn
(c)

xn
x1
x
+ 2 + ... +
1 + x1 1 + x2
1+ x n

when does the equality hold?

Using (a) and (b) or otherwise, show that for any non-negative real numbers x1, x2 , , x n.
n

x1 x 2 ... x n
1 + x1 x2 ... x n

x kn
k =1
n

n+

k =1

(d)

x kn

n
+
x
k
xkn k =1

Using (a) and (b) or otherwise, show that for any real numbers a 1, a 2, , a n .
a1 + a 2 + ... + a n
1 + a1 + a 2 + ... + a n

a1
1 + a1

a2
1 + a2

+ ... +

an
1+ a n

Example 4.6: (87/HL/Q3)


n

(a)

Show that

k (k + 1) = n + 1
1

k =1

n 1

(b)

Using (a) and the A.M. G.M. or otherwise, show that n! > ( n + 1) 2

(c)

Show that (

n +1 n
) > n!
2

for n > 1

for n > 1

Example 4.7: (89/HL/Q6)


(a)

Let f ( x ) = (1 + x ) 1 x

where > 1 ,

show that f ( x ) 0 for x 1 and the equality holds if and only if x = 0.


(b)

Let x1, x 2, x n be positive real numbers, for any positive real number t,
x t + x t + ... + x t
n
2
Define g (t ) = 1

and

yk =

xk
g (1)

(i)

Show that y1 + y 2 + ... + y n = 0

(ii)

Hence using (a), show that g (t ) g (1) for t > 1 and equality holds if and only if
x1 = x2 = ... = xn

(c)

Hence, or otherwise, show that g (r ) g ( s) for 1 < r < s , and that the equality holds if and only if
x1 = x2 = ... = xn

Example 4.8: (90/HL/Q1)


(a)

(i)

Show that e x1 x for any real number of x.

(ii)

1
Given a 1, a 2, a n > 0, let A =
n

k =1

k =1

a k and G = [ a k ]
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n

HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.

a
By putting x = k , for k = 1, 2, n , in (i), show that A G.
A
(b)

Let a 1, a 2, a n be an arithmetic sequence of positive real numbers.


(i)

1
a +an
Show that [ a 1a 2 ...a n ] n 1

(ii)

By considering the products a k a n+k +1

Show that
(iii)

(1 k n)

a1 a n n a1 a 2 ...a n

Deduce that

n n n!

n +1
.
2

Example 4.9: (81/I/Q7)


(a)

Let f ( x ) = x 1 ln x for all x > 0. Find the minimum value of f(x) and show that ln x x 1 for all
x > 0. For what value of x will the equality hold?

(b)

Let x1, x 2, x n and 1, 2, n be positive numbers such that


1 x1 + 2 x 2 + ... + n x n = 1 + 2 + ... + n = 1

n
Show that x1 1 x2 2 ...x
n 1

For what values of x1, x 2, x n will the equality hold?


(c)

Prove that if a1 , a 2, a n and p 1, p 2, p n are positive numbers,


1
p 1a 1 + p 2 a 2 + ... p n a n
p1 p 2
p n p1 + p 2 +...+ p n
( a1 a 2 ...a n )

p1 + p 2 + ... p n

when will the equality hold?

Example 4.10: (85/I/5)


(a)

For any non negative number x and for any integer k > 1 , prove that
x k + k 1 kx (*)

(b)

when does the equality hold?

Let n be an integer > 1, {a1, a 2, , an} be a set of positive real numbers.


For m = 1, 2, , n, define
(i)

1
Am =
m

ai and

Gm = (

i =1

1
m
ai )

i=1

Show that for m = 2, , n


(

Gm
G m1

)m =

mA m ( m 1) Am1
G m1

.(**)
m 1
( Am1 G m1 ) for m = 2, , n
m

(ii)

Making use of (*) and (**), prove that Am G m

(iii)

Deduce that Am G m , and show that the equality holds if and only if a 1 = a 2 = = a n.

Example 4.11: (86/II/8)


Let g : R R be differentiable function s.t. its derivative g(x) is increasing.
(a)

Let a and be real constants s.t. 0 < < 1. Show that the function
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HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.


F(x) = g (x + (1 - )a) - g(x) (1 - )g(a)

attains its greatest value when x = a.


(b)

Let 1 , 2 , , m ( m 2 ) be m positive real numbers such that 1 + 2 + + m = 1


(i)

Prove by mathematical induction, or otherwise that


g (1 x1 + 2 x 2 + ... + m x m ) 1 g ( x1 ) + 2 g ( x2 ) + ... + m g ( xm )
for any real numbers x1, x2, , x m .
By considering g ( x) = e x , or otherwise, deduce that

(ii)

m
2
a11 a
2 ...am 1 a1 + 2 a2 + ...+ m a m

for any real numbers a 1, a 2, , a m.


Example 4.12: (87/I/5)
(a)

(b)

Given a real number with 0 < < 1 and 0 < x 1 , then


(i)

(1 + x) < 1 + x ;

(ii)

(1 x) < 1 x .

Show that for any positive numbers n and k.


n
n
n

n
n +1
1
n + 1 n +1
n
+
1
n
+
1

n
(
) ( k + 1)
k
<
<(
) k
( k 1) +1
1

n
n

k n +1

(c)

Show that 14998 <

1
3

1
3

+ ... +

1
3

< 15000

1000000

Example 4.13: (88/I/5)


Let a be a positive real number not equal to 1 and let p, q, r and s be four real numbers s.t. p + q = r + s and
0 < p q < r s.
(a)

(b)

(i)

Show that the function f ( x) = a x + a x is strictly increasing for x > 0.

(ii)

By considering the values of f(x) at (p q) and (r s) deduce that a p + a q < a r + a s

Let u and v be two distinct positive real numbers.


Show that u p v q + u q v p < u r v s + u s v r .

(i)

Hence deduce that ( u p + v p )(u q + v q ) < (u r + v r )(u s + v s ).


(ii)

Show that

( u 8 + v 8 )( u 80 + v 80 )( u 900 + v 900 )( u 1000 + v 1000) < 2 3 (u 1988 + v1988).

Example 4.14: (89/I/10)


(a)

By determining the least value of the function f ( x ) = e x 1 x or otherwise, show that e x1 x for
x R.

(b)

Let {a1, a2, , an } and {b 1, b 2, , b n} are two sequences of positive numbers, show that

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HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.

n
exp (
i=1

) n
bi
i =1

bii

ai

Hence, or otherwise, show that if

ak
n , then
bk

k =1

(c)

ak

k =1

bk
k =1

Using the result in (b), show that for any positive numbers a 1, a 2, , a n
1
n
1
[
ai ] n
ai
n
i =1
i =1
n

Hence, or otherwise, show that


n

ai m 0 ,

where m =

i =1

1
n

ai .
i =1

Example 4.15: (90/I/4)


(a)

(b)

Let p > 1 and f ( x ) = x p px

for all x > 0

(i)

Find the absolute minimum of f(x) on the interval (0, ).

(ii)

Deduce that x p 1 p ( x 1) for all x > 0

(i)

Let , , , be positive numbers s.t.

1 1
+ = 1 and + = 1. By taking x = and respectively,

prove that, for p > 1, p 1 p + p 1 p 1

for p > 1.

where the equality holds if and only if = = 1.


(ii)
(c)

Deduce that, if a, b, c, d are positive p > 1, then (

a + b p 1 p
a + b p 1 p
)
c +(
)
d (c + d ) p
a
b

Suppose {a 1, a 2, , a n } and {b 1, b 2, b n } are two sequences of positive numbers and p > 1. By considering
n

a=

i =1

1
p p
( ai )

b=

and

i =1

1
p p
(b i )

1
1
1
n
n
p p
p p
p p
prove that
( ai ) +
(b i ) [
(a i + bi ) ]
i =1
i =1
i =1
n

where the equality holds if and only if

a1 a 2
=
= ... =
b1 b 2

an
bn

a
b

Example 4.16: (91/I/8)


(a)

Let a k , b k (k = 1, 2, , n ) be non-zero real numbers


(i)

n
n
n

Prove that Schwarzs inequality a 2k b k2


a k b k ]
k =1 k =1 k =1

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HKCWCC
(ii)

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.


b
If p k q
ak

for k = 1, 2, , n, prove that

pqa k2 ( p + q ) a k b k + b k2 0
n

Deduce that ( p + q )

ak bk

k =1

(iii) If 0 < m a k M

for k = 1, 2, , n

k =1

b k2 + pq

a 2k .
k =1

and 0 < m b k M

for k = 1, 2, , n

prove, by using (ii) or otherwise, that


n
n
1 M m 2 n

a k2 b k2
+
a k b k ]

4m M
k =1 k =1
k =1

(b)

Using (a),or otherwise, show that


n
n
1
1 2
1 2 169
1
( n + ) 2 < (1 +
)
(1
) <
(n + ) 2
k
k
+
1
9
3
k =1
3
k =1
3
144

Example 4.17: (92/I/10)


Let {a 1, a 2, , a n} and {b 1, b 2, b n} be two sets of real numbers and b o = 0.
k

(a)

Show that

i =1

(b)

a i (bi bi 1 ) = a k b k +

k 1

(ai ai +1)bi .
i =1

Suppose {a n} is decreasing and bi K for all i , where K is a constant.


k

Show that

a i (bi bi 1 ) K ( a1 + 2 ak )
i =1

(c)

Using (b) or otherwise, show that for all positive integer n.


n+ p

k=n

( 1) k
3

k
2n

Example 4.18: (92/I/4)


(a)

Prove that

C kn
n

(b)

1
k!

If a 1, a 2, , a n are positive real numbers and s = a 1 + a 2 + + a n , using A.M. G.M. and (a), or otherwise,
(1 + a 1 )(1 + a 2 )...(1 + a n ) 1 + s +

prove that
n

(c)

, where n, k are positive integers and n k .

Let C n =

s 2 s3
sn
+
+ ... +
2! 3!
n!

(1+ 2k ) . Using (a) or otherwise, show that the sequence {C } converges.


1

k =1

Example 4.19: (93/I/1)

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HKCWCC

(a)

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.


2

n
n
n

Prove that Schwarzs inequality a 2k b k2


a k b k ] where a k , b k R and n N.
k =1 k =1 k =1

(b)

Hence, or otherwise, prove that

1
n

ak

a k2
k =1

k =1

Example 4.20: (95/I/13)


Let a and b be positive numbers.
(a)

Prove that a a b b a b b a , where, if the equality holds, then a = b.

(b)

Using (a), or otherwise, prove that

(c)

Show that x x (1 x) 1x
Deduce that a a b b (

5.

1
2

a + b a +b
)
a b b a , where the equality holds, then a = b.
2

for 0 < x < 1, where, if the equality holds, then x = .

a + b a +b
)
where, if the equality holds, then a = b.
2

Summary

Main points in this chapter


1. Basic properties of inequalities:
(i)

If a > b > 0 and q is any positive rational number, then a q > b q and
b q > a q .

(ii)

If a b and c d then a +

c b + d equality holds if and only if a = b

and c = d.
(iii)

If a > 1 and x > y, then a x > a y .

(iv)

If 1 > a > 0 and x > y , then a x < a y .

(v)

For all real numbers x, x2 0, equality holds if and only if x = 0.

(vi)

If a > l and x > y, then log a x > log a y.

(vii)

If l > a > 0 and x > y, then log a x < log a y.

2.

Definition and properties of the absolute value of a real number.

3.

Difference between absolute and conditional inequalities.

4.

Triangle inequality: For any real numbers x and y,

5.

A.M. G.M.:

x+y x + y .

If x1, x2, ... ,xn are n non-negative real numbers, then


holds if and only if x1 = x 2 = ...= xn .
6.

Cauchy-Schwarz s Inequality:
Page 10

x1 + x 2 + ... + xn
n

n x1 x 2 ... x n , equality

HKCWCC

Advanced Level Pure Maths. / Inequalities.


Let a 1, a 2, , a n and b 1, b 2, b n be real numbers
n
n
n

a 2k b k2
ak bk
k =1 k =1 k =1

The equality holds if and only if


7.

8.

a1 a 2
=
= ... =
b1 b2

an
bn

Solving conditional inequalities:


(i)

Inequalities involving absolute value.

(ii)

Inequalities of polynomials and rational functions.

(iii)

Inequalities which have more than one variable.

(iv)

Various form of inequalities.

Use the method of differentiation to prove absolute inequality.

Questions for thinking


1.

How to use backward induction to prove A. M. G.M.?

2.

What is the necessary and sufficient conditions for the quadratic polynomial ax2 + bx + c to be
positive for all real values of x?

3.

How to apply the above result to prove the Cauchy-.Schwarz's Inequality?

4.

What is the geornetric interpretation of the Cauchy -Schwarz's Inequality?

Past AL papers(since 1988)


88 (Paper I-No. 5-14 marks)
89 (Paper I-No. 2 - 5 marks; No. 10-15 marks)
89 (Paper II-No. 1-5 marks)
90 (Paper I-No. 6 5 marks; No.12 - 15 marks)
90 (Paper II No. 1 5 marks)
91 (Paper I-No. 6 7 marks; No. 8 15 marks)
92 (Paper I-No. 7 - 8 marks; No. 10 - 15 marks)
93 (Paper I- No. 1 5 marks; No. 7 6 marks),
93 (Paper II- No. 6 7 marks),
94 (Paper I- No. 4 5 marks),
95 (Paper I- No. 5 7 marks; No. 13 15 marks),
96 (Paper I-No. 4 - 5 marks)
96 (Paper II-No. 2(a), No. 7 (a))
97 (Paper I-No. 5(a), No.9 - 15 marks)
97 (Paper II-No 2-4 marks)
Hints for questions for thinking
Consider the value of a and the discriminant of ax2 + bx +c = 0.

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