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COORDINATE GEOMETRY STRAIGHT LINES**

**It is strongly recommended that the reader must have a good knowledge about the basics and foundations of Straight lines before proceeding further. Please
have a good practice with concepts of Coordinate Geometry in Class 11 NCERT textbook/ State Board Book. The concepts in this article will be useful for entrance
examinations.

Lets start with a little bit of fun!!


Do you see slopy or bent lines running horizontally in this image??

They arent actually slopy!! They are perfectly straight parallel lines!!! But Geometry didnt
play any game here. Its all the outcome of optical illusions.

INTRODUCTION

Coordinate geometry is one of the most important and exciting areas of mathematics. It
provides a connection between algebra and geometry through graphs of lines and curves. This
enables geometric problems to be solved algebraically and provides geometric insights into
algebra. Basically application of mathematics in real life involves a proper combination of
algebra with geometry.

In this section, let us set things straight on advanced topics in Straight lines!!!
Before that, I hope you are familiar with the basics of straight lines, like general equation of a
straight line, plotting it in a Cartesian plane, various forms of representing straight lines like
Slope-Intercept form, normal form, parametric form etc..

FAMILY OF STRAIGHT LINES

We all know that the line ax + by + c = 0 represents a fixed straight line. The constants a, b and
c determine the way in which the straight line is supposed to be drawn. What if one of the
constants is unknown? Let us keep a and b constant and start varying c. Then we get a variety
of straight line equations!! Such collection of different straight lines but still sharing some
common feature within themselves is called family of straight lines.
i.

The family of straight lines having equal x coefficients and equal y coefficients but
different values of c will be a collection of parallel lines as below:

This example shows nothing but collection of lines of the form y = x + k (k = 1, 2, 3..).
So the family of lines parallel to the fixed line ax + by + c = 0 is given by ax + by + k = 0
ii.

Say you are given a line ax + by + c = 0, and you want to find a family of lines
perpendicular to the given line. Assume those family of lines to be dx + ey + f = 0. Note
that we have no idea of the nature of the constants d, e and f. We know that for two
lines to be perpendicular, the product of their slopes should be equal to -1. So
(-a/b) x (-d/e) = -1
So ad / be = -1.
d / e = -b / a
So, let d=-pb and e = pa where p is some constant. So the equation of our family of
perpendicular lines is now:
-pbx + pay + f = 0

-bx + ay + f/p = 0
Writing f/p as some constant k, -bx + ay + k = 0, represents the family of lines
perpendicular to the line ax + by + c=0.
SHORTCUT: Interchange the coefficients of x and y and bring in a negative sign in one of
the coefficients.
The given image represents all those lines perpendicular to the line x + 2y = 0

iii.

Let us take two lines given by:


L1: ax + by + c = 0
L2: dx + ey + f = 0
The equation of family of lines passing through the point of intersection of the lines L 1
and L2 is given by L1 + L2 = 0, where is some varying quantity. Let us just verify the
above statement:
Let us say the intersecting point is given by (h,k). That is, (h,k) is the solution of the
linear equations in two variables L1=0 and L2=0. Then (h,k) satisfies the equation L1=0
and L2=0 separately. Which means (h,k) also satisfies L2=0. And hence the line L1 + L2 =
0 passes through (h,k).
Suppose we are given another point through which the new line passes. Then we can
find a unique value of and hence a unique line equation. So basically we need two
conditions, one of which is the equations for L1 and L2 and another is some arbitrary
condition like another point on the line, slope of the line, etc..

Concurrency of three straight lines:

Three lines are said to be concurrent if they all pass through the same point.

The three lines are concurrent at the point G

Three lines L1, L2 and L3 are said to be concurrent if there exist constants l, m and n such that
lL1 + mL2 + nL3 = 0. The proof is pretty much similar to how we verified the family of lines
passing through intersection of given two lines. If the point of concurrency is, say (h,k). Then it
satisfies the lines L1=0, L2=0 and L3=0 separately. Hence (h,k) also satisfies lL1 + mL2 + nL3 = 0.

Another condition that can be determined in terms of the coefficients of three equations say
a1x + b1y + c1 = 0, a2x + b2y + c2 = 0 and a3x + b3y + c3 = 0 is that the value of determinant
formed the coefficients is equal to zero.

PAIR OF STRAIGHT LINES

Does

looking at strange topics like this frighten you?? Nothing to worry, on careful

understanding and analysis, all this is cakewalk!!

Let us take a pair of straight lines a1x + b1y + c1 = 0 and a2x + b2y + c2 = 0. Instead of dealing
with two separate equations, we are just going to club them into a single equation of second
degree.
a1x + b1y + c1 = 0
a2x + b2y + c2 = 0

Multiplying both equations, we get


(a1x + b1y + c1).( a2x + b2y + c2)= 0
Dont worry, we are not going to expand it. But the result we will be getting will be of the form:
ax2 + 2hxy + by2 + 2gx + 2fy + c = 0
Not all equations of the above form represent a pair of straight lines. It might represent a circle,
a parabola etc.. There are two important conditions that one should look after:

a) The value of the determinant


is equal to 0, i.e.
abc + 2fgh-af2 bg2 ch2 = 0.
Sometimes the determinant is easier to solve, or sometimes you can get a straight
forward answer from the equation itself.
b) h2 ab

From this second degree equation we can get several interesting facts about the pair of
straight lines we are dealing with!!!

The point of intersection of the pair of straight lines denoted by ax2 + 2hxy + by2 + 2gx + 2fy + c
= 0 is given by:

SPECIAL CASE: The equation ax2 + 2hxy + by2 = 0 represents a pair of straight lines having their
intersection point as the origin. Suppose if the two lines are given by y=m1x and y=m2x. Then,
using basic principles of quadratic equations, we can see that
m1 + m2 = -2h /b
m1.m2 = a/b
If is the angle between the two lines, then we know
tan = |m1 m2| /(1+m1m2)
So on substituting the above relations, one can find out that

tan =

If h2=ab, then the equation ax2 + 2hxy + by2 = 0 now has real and equal roots because the value
of the discriminant now becomes 4h2 - 4ab = 0. So the two lines become coincident. Otherwise
you can alternatively say that the lines become coincident as tan now becomes 0.

What can you say about the nature of the lines if a + b = 0?


Look at the expression for tan . The denominator takes the value 0. So tan = infinity. Hence
= 90. So the two lines are perpendicular if a + b = 0.

The equation of the pair of bisectors of angles between the pair of lines ax2 + 2hxy + by2 = 0 is
given by:

It

is important to note that the angle bisectors of a pair of straight lines are always

perpendicular to each other. It can be easily seen from the equation that the sum of
coefficients of x2 and y2 is equal to zero.