What are the asymptotes for # f(x)=x/(x-7)#?

1 Answer
Sep 21, 2015

Answer:

The vertical assymptote is #x = 7# and the horizontal assymptote is #y = 1#

Explanation:

Vertical assymptotes are the lines of the type #x = a# that the function can never take because doing so will create a math error.

In this function the only possible math error is a division by zero, so we have that:
#x - 7 != 0#
#x != 7#

So #7# is a vertical assymptote. That means that as the function gets closer and closer to 7, the values of the function as whole will become bigger in magnitude (because #x - 7# gets closer and closer to 0) but the function will never actually evaluate at that point.

Horizontal assymptotes are the lines of the type #y = b# that are basically the value the function start to take whenever #x# becomes bigger and bigger. Slant assymptotes (of the type #y = ax+b#) are very similar but the function isn't tending to a constant value. We can discover them the same way:

Start plugging bigger and bigger values until you see a pattern, or, use a made-up number, like, let's say #b#, that is infinitely big, plug it in and see what happens.

#y = b/(b-7)#

Since #b# is an infinitely large number, we can say that #b - 7 ~= b#, after all think of it like if b was a number like a billion or a trillion. A trillion minus 7 is still pretty much a trillion for practical purposes. So we have

#y ~= b/b# or #y ~= 1#

So the horizontal assymptote is #y = 1#, that is, as #x# grows bigger the function gets closer and closer to #1#.

We can doublecheck it by looking at the graph:
graph{x/(x-7) [-14, 14, -28, 28]}