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Trigonomtrie
Sine,
and
in Four

Cosine
Tangent
Quadrants

Sine, Cosine and Tangent


The three main functions in trigonometry are Sine, Cosine and Tangent.

They are easy to calculate:


Divide the length of one side of a
right angled triangle by another side
... but we must know which sides!
For an angle , the functions are calculated this way:
Sine Function: sin() = Opposite / Hypotenuse
Cosine Function: cos() = Adjacent / Hypotenuse
Tangent Function: tan() = Opposite / Adjacent

Example: What is the sine of 35?

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Using this triangle (lengths are only to one decimal place):


sin(35) = Opposite / Hypotenuse = 2,8/4,9 = 0,57...

Cartesian Coordinates
Using Cartesian Coordinates we mark a point on a graph by how far along and how far up it
is:

The point (12,5) is 12 units along, and 5 units up.

Four Quadrants
When we include negative values, the x and y axes divide the space up into 4 pieces:
Quadrants I, II, III and IV
(They are numbered in a counter-clockwise direction)

In Quadrant I both x and y are positive,

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in Quadrant II x is negative (y is still positive),

in Quadrant III both x and y are negative, and

in Quadrant IV x is positive again, and y is negative.

Like this:

Quadrant
I
II
III
IV

X
(horizontal)
Positive
Negative
Negative
Positive

Y
(vertical)
Positive
Positive
Negative
Negative

Example
(3,2)
(2,1)

Example: The point "C" (2,1) is 2 units along in the negative direction, and 1 unit down
(i.e. negative direction).
Both x and y are negative, so that point is in "Quadrant III"

Sine, Cosine and Tangent in the Four Quadrants


Now let us look at what happens when we place a 30 triangle in each of the 4 Quadrants.
In Quadrant I everything is normal, and Sine, Cosine and Tangent are all positive:

Example: The sine, cosine and tangent of 30

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Sine

sin(30) = 1 / 2 = 0,5

Cosine

cos(30) = 1,732 / 2 = 0,866

Tangent

tan(30) = 1 / 1,732 = 0,577

But in Quadrant II, the x direction is negative, and both cosine and tangent become negative:

Example: The sine, cosine and tangent of 150

Sine

sin(150) = 1 / 2 = 0,5

Cosine

cos(150) = 1,732 / 2 = 0,866

Tangent

tan(150) = 1 / 1,732 = 0,577

In Quadrant III, sine and cosine are negative:

Example: The sine, cosine and tangent of 210

Sine

sin(210) = 1 / 2 = 0,5

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Cosine

cos(210) = 1,732 / 2 = 0,866

Tangent

tan(210) = 1 / 1,732 = 0,577

Note: Tangent is positive because dividing a negative by a negative gives a positive.

In Quadrant IV, sine and tangent are negative:

Example: The sine, cosine and tangent of 330

Sine

sin(330) = 1 / 2 = 0,5

Cosine

cos(330) = 1,732 / 2 = 0,866

Tangent

tan(330) = 1 / 1,732 = 0,577

There is a pattern! Look at when Sine Cosine and Tangent are positive ...

All three of them are positive in Quadrant I

Sine only is positive in Quadrant II

Tangent only is positive in Quadrant III

Cosine only is positive in Quadrant IV

This can be shown even easier by:

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Some people like to remember the four letters ASTC by one


of these:

All Students Take Chemistry

All Students Take Calculus

All Silly Tom Cats

All Stations To Central

Add Sugar To Coffee

You can remember one of these, or maybe you could make


up
your own. Or just remember ASTC.

This graph shows "ASTC" also.

Two Values
Have a look at this graph of the Sine Function::

There are two angles (within the first 360) that have the same value!
And this is also true for Cosine and Tangent.
The trouble is: Your calculator will only give you one of those values ...
... but you can use these rules to find the other value:
First value

Second value

Sine

180

Cosine

360

Tangent

180

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And if any angle is less than 0, then add 360.


We can now solve equations for angles between 0 and 360 (using Inverse Sine Cosine and
Tangent)

Example: Solve sin = 0,5


We get the first solution from the calculator = sin-1(0,5) = 30 (it is in Quadrant I)
The other solution is 180 30 = 150 (Quadrant II)

Example: Solve tan = 1,3


We get the first solution from the calculator = tan-1(1,3) = 52,4
This is less than 0, so we add 360: 52,4 + 360 = 307,6 (Quadrant IV)
The other solution is 307,6 180 = 127,6 (Quadrant II)

Example: Solve cos = 0,85


We get the first solution from the calculator = cos-1(0,85) = 148,2 (Quadrant II)
The other solution is 360 148,2 = 211,8 (Quadrant III)

Unit Circle

The "Unit Circle" is a circle with a radius of 1.

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Being so simple, it is a great way to learn and talk about lengths and angles.
The center is put on a graph where the x axis and y axis cross, so we get this neat arrangement
here.

Sine, Cosine and Tangent


Because the radius is 1, we can directly measure sine, cosine and tangent.
What happens when the angle, , is 0?

cos 0 = 1, sin 0 = 0 and tan 0 = 0

What happens when is 90?

cos 90 = 0, sin 90 = 1 and tan 90 is undefined

Try It Yourself!
Have a try! Move the mouse around to see how different angles (in radians or degrees) affect
sine, cosine and tangent
The "sides" can be positive or negative according to the rules of Cartesian coordinates. This
makes the sine, cosine and tangent change between positive and negative values also.

Also try the Interactive Unit Circle.

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Pythagoras

Pythagoras' Theorem says that for a right angled triangle, the square of the long side equals
the sum of the squares of the other two sides:
x2 + y2 = 12
But 12 is just 1, so:
x2 + y2 = 1
(the equation of the unit circle)
Also, since x=cos and y=sin, we get:
(cos())2 + (sin())2 = 1
(a useful "identity")

Important Angles: 30, 45 and 60


You should try to remember sin, cos and tan for the angles 30, 45 and 60.
Yes, yes, it is a pain to have to remember things, but it will make life easier when you know
them, not just in exams, but other times when you need to do quick estimates, etc.
These are the values you should remember!
Angle

Sin

Cos

Tan=Sin/Cos

30

1 3 = 3 3

45

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60

How To Remember?

To help you remember, think "1,2,3" :


sin(30) =

1
2

1
2

(because 1 = 1)
2

sin(45) =

2
3

sin(60) =

And cos goes "3,2,1"


3

cos(30) =

2
2

cos(45) =
cos(60) =

2
1
2

1
2

(because 1 = 1)

Just 3 Numbers
In fact, knowing 3 numbers is enough:
Because they work for cos as well as sin:

1
,
2

2
2

and

3
2

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What about tan?


Well, tan = sin/cos so we can calculate it like this:
sin(30)
tan(30) =

1/2
=

cos(30)
sin(45)
tan(45) =

=
3/2
2/2

=
cos(45)
sin(60)

tan(60) =

But writing 1/3 may cost you marks


(see Rational Denominators), so instead use 3/3

=1
2/2
3/2

=
cos(60)

= 3
1/2

Quick Sketch
Another way to help you remember 30 and 60 is to make a quick sketch:

Draw a triangle with side lengths of 2

Cut in half. Pythagoras says the new side is 3


12 + (3)2 = 22
1+3=4

Then use sohcahtoa for sin, cos or tan

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Example: sin(30)
Sine: sohcahtoa
sine is opposite divided by hypotenuse
sin(30) = opposite hypotenuse = 1 2

The Whole Circle


For the whole circle we need values in every quadrant, with the correct plus or minus sign as
per Cartesian Coordinates:

Note that cos is first and sin is second, so it goes (cos, sin):

Example: What is cos(330) ?

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Make a sketch like this, and we can see it is the "long" value:
And this is the same Unit Circle in radians.

Example: What is sin(7/6) ?

Think "7/6 = + /6", then make a sketch.


We can then see it is negative and is the "short" value:

Footnote: where do the values come from?

3
2

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We can use the equation x2 + y2 = 1 to find the lengths of x and y (which are equal to cos and
sin when the radius is 1):

45 Degrees
For 45 degrees, x and y are equal, so y=x:
x2 + x2 = 1
2x2 = 1
x2 =
x = y = ()

60 Degrees
Take an equilateral triangle (all sides are equal and all angles are 60) and split it down the
middle.
The "x" side is now ,
And the "y" side is:
()2 + y2 = 1

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+ y2 = 1
y2 = 1- =
y = ()

30 Degrees
30 is just 60 with x and y swapped, so x = () and y =
And:
() is also this:
And () is also this:

And here is the result (same as before):


Angle

Sin

Cos

Tan=Sin/Cos

30

1/3 = 3/3

45

60