Given a right triangle with Angle A=25 deg, Angle C=90 Degrees, and knowing the length of the leg opposite angle A equals 4 inches, how do I find the length of the base leg of the triangle?

1 Answer
Jul 15, 2017

#AC = 5.58# inches


Label the vertices of the triangle as ABC.
Fill in all the angles.

#hatA = 25°, hatC = 90°, :. hatB= 65°#

The side you are looking for is AC.

In terms of #hatA# this is the adjacent side.
In terms of #hatB# it is the opposite side.

We have an opposite and an adjacent side, so we will use the Tan or Cot ratio. (If you are unfamiliar with cot, #cot = "adj"/"opp" = 1/tan#)

Tan is a preferred ratio because it is on a scientific calculator, while Cot is not.

Compare the following equations:

#(AC)/4 = tan65" and "(AC)/4 = cot25 = 1/tan25#

#AC = 4 tan65" and "AC= 4cot25 = 4/tan25#

#" "AC = 8.58# inches

Both will give the same answer for AC, but the first one is simpler.