How can I recognize a geometric sequence?

1 Answer
Sep 27, 2014

That lies in its very definition: there is a common ratio between successive terms of the geometric sequence. That is to say, a number is being multiplied to get each successive term, and this "number" is nothing but the common ratio. This means that you just have to check if there is a number being multiplied between successive terms.

If you also think about it, the common ratio is what you get when you divide a term by its predecessor. But you can probably already tell why you get the same number - it is because you have been multiplying the same number.

The "common ratio" can be anything, but it has been widely argued without a proper consensus that a sequence with a common ratio 0 or 1 should not be called geometric. But thinking about that argument is futile, as you would never, ever encounter a sequence such as that in questions. Even if you do, you can think for yourself.

Here are three examples:

  • #1, 2, 4, 8, \cdots# - the common ratio is 2.

  • #-1, 3, -9, 27# - the common ratio is -3.

  • #7,1, 1/7, 1/49# - the common ratio is 1/7.