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HIGH SCHOOL

DIFFERENTIAL CALCULUS
COURSE

1.3 SUPPORT 1 ABSOLUTE VALUE FUNCTIONS


1.3.1. Define the absolute value function.
The absolute value or modulus of a real number is its numerical value without its sign. The notation of
absolute value of a value was introduced first by Karl Weierstrass in 1841.
The absolute value of a negative number makes it positive. Because of how the absolute value function
behaves, it is important to include also negative inputs in your T-chart when graphing the function. The
absolute value function is defined as f ( x) x , f : , 0, which means that the function is
taking any real number for its domain and is getting only zero or positive numbers as range. (Remember:
f : Domain Range )
For example, if we want to graph this function f ( x) x , a general error could be made if we use only
positive x values in the table of values.
X

f ( x) x

Using only this table of values, the function could be mistakenly graphed.

Plotting the
points with this
table of values,
we get a wrong
graph for the
function

Be careful, when you work with absolute value functions, always give values in the negative and positive side. So:

-3

-2

-1

f(x)

We plot the new points and we get:


y

This is the
graph of
f ( x) x

1.3.2. Explore the effect of the absolute value when it is applied over any type of function
use of a graphing utility.
If we are trying to apply the absolute value of other functions, the effect is the same.
Domain
Domain

Range

by the

x ,

Range

x ,

y 3,

y 0,

y x2 3

y x2 3
y

Domain
x 0,

x 0,

Range

Domain

Range

y ,

y 0,

y ln x

y ln x

Domain
x ,

Domain
x ,
x

Range
y 1, 1

y sin x

Range
y 0, 1

y sin x

From these functions we can observ that the absolute-value will flip the negative part of the graph up into the
positive values (above the x-axis).

1.3.3. Graph the following absolute value functions, with absolute value.
1.3.4. Determine the domain and range of a function with absolute value.

f ( x) x 2 x 2

Given the function

To graph the function

f ( x) x 2 x 2 we have to decide the vertex first. Completing the square, we find

that the function it can be written as

2
1 9
1
9

f ( x) x so the vertex is V , .
2 4
2
4

Using the transformations of functions, the basic function

f ( x ) x 2 is moved

1
9
to the right and
2
4

downwards.
Graphing the quadratic function , we get:
y

Applying the absolute


value of this function,
the negative side of the
function, below the x
axis, is reflected about
the x axis

axis of symmetry

axis of symmetry

The domain of this function is:

The domain of this function is:

x ,

x ,

The range is:

The range is:

y ,
4

y 0,