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# Lecture 1: Limits and Continuity

Chandra Vaidyanathan

## Chairman, Department of Mathematics,

Dayananda Sagar University, Bengaluru.
chairman-maths@dsu.edu.in

Limits

Limits

Limits

## Informal Definition of the Limit of a function

If a function f (x) gets arbitrarily close to L, as x gets arbitrarily close to
x0 , we say that lim f (x) = L.
xx0

Limits

## Informal Definition of the Limit of a function

If a function f (x) gets arbitrarily close to L, as x gets arbitrarily close to
x0 , we say that lim f (x) = L.
xx0

QUESTION:
x2 1
How does the function f (x) = vary as x 1?
x 1

Limits

## Informal Definition of the Limit of a function

If a function f (x) gets arbitrarily close to L, as x gets arbitrarily close to
x0 , we say that lim f (x) = L.
xx0

QUESTION:
x2 1
How does the function f (x) = vary as x 1?
x 1

QUESTION:
x
How about the function f (x) = as x 0?
|x|

One Sided Limits

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 3 / 16

One Sided Limits
Remark
So, really what value the function f (x) takes, as x approaches 0, in the
above question seems to depend on whether we approach 0 from the right
or left.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 3 / 16

One Sided Limits
Remark
So, really what value the function f (x) takes, as x approaches 0, in the
above question seems to depend on whether we approach 0 from the right
or left.This necessitates the definition of one sided limits.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 3 / 16

One Sided Limits
Remark
So, really what value the function f (x) takes, as x approaches 0, in the
above question seems to depend on whether we approach 0 from the right
or left.This necessitates the definition of one sided limits.

Definition
Let f (x) be defined on an interval (a, b), where a < b. If f (x) gets
arbitrarily close to L, as x approaches a from within the interval, we say
that lim+ f (x) = L.
xa

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 3 / 16

One Sided Limits
Remark
So, really what value the function f (x) takes, as x approaches 0, in the
above question seems to depend on whether we approach 0 from the right
or left.This necessitates the definition of one sided limits.

Definition
Let f (x) be defined on an interval (a, b), where a < b. If f (x) gets
arbitrarily close to L, as x approaches a from within the interval, we say
that lim+ f (x) = L.
xa

Definition
Let f (x) be defined on an interval (c, a), where c < a. If f (x) gets
arbitrarily close to M, as x approaches a from within the interval, we say
that lim f (x) = M.
xa

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 3 / 16

One Sided Limits
Remark
So, really what value the function f (x) takes, as x approaches 0, in the
above question seems to depend on whether we approach 0 from the right
or left.This necessitates the definition of one sided limits.

Definition
Let f (x) be defined on an interval (a, b), where a < b. If f (x) gets
arbitrarily close to L, as x approaches a from within the interval, we say
that lim+ f (x) = L.
xa

Definition
Let f (x) be defined on an interval (c, a), where c < a. If f (x) gets
arbitrarily close to M, as x approaches a from within the interval, we say
that lim f (x) = M.
xa

Limit

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 4 / 16

Limit

x
Hence, for the function, f (x) = , we have,
|x|

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 4 / 16

Limit

x
Hence, for the function, f (x) = , we have, lim+ f (x) = 1 and
|x| x0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 4 / 16

Limit

x
Hence, for the function, f (x) = , we have, lim+ f (x) = 1 and
|x| x0
lim f (x) = 1.
x0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 4 / 16

Limit

x
Hence, for the function, f (x) = , we have, lim+ f (x) = 1 and
|x| x0
lim f (x) = 1.
x0

Definition
A function f (x) has a limit L, as x approaches x0 , if and only if it has left
hand and right hand limits exist and are equal, i.e.,

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 4 / 16

Limit

x
Hence, for the function, f (x) = , we have, lim+ f (x) = 1 and
|x| x0
lim f (x) = 1.
x0

Definition
A function f (x) has a limit L, as x approaches x0 , if and only if it has left
hand and right hand limits exist and are equal, i.e.,

xx0 xx0 xx0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 4 / 16

Limit
Piecewise linear function

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 5 / 16

Limit
Piecewise linear function

2.5

2
f(x)

1.5

0.5

0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
x

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 5 / 16

Evaluate the limit for the following function depicted by the graph :
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x0+ x0 x0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 6 / 16

Evaluate the limit for the following function depicted by the graph :
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x0+ x0 x0
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x1+ x1 x1

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 6 / 16

Evaluate the limit for the following function depicted by the graph :
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x0+ x0 x0
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x1+ x1 x1
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x2+ x2 x2

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 6 / 16

Evaluate the limit for the following function depicted by the graph :
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x0+ x0 x0
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x1+ x1 x1
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x2+ x2 x2
lim+ f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x3 x3 x3

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 6 / 16

Evaluate the limit for the following function depicted by the graph :
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x0+ x0 x0
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x1+ x1 x1
lim f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x2+ x2 x2
lim+ f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x3 x3 x3
lim+ f (x), lim f (x), lim f (x)
x4 x4 x4

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 6 / 16

Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 7 / 16
Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## 2 Left hand limit:

We say that f (x) has left hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L,
xx0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## 2 Left hand limit:

We say that f (x) has left hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Limits:  concept

Definition
1 Right hand limit:

We say that f (x) has right hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim+ f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## 2 Left hand limit:

We say that f (x) has left hand limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L,
xx0
if for every number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 8 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Definition
We say that f (x) has the limit L at x0 , i.e,

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 9 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Definition
We say that f (x) has the limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L
xx0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 9 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Definition
We say that f (x) has the limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L if for every
xx0
number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 9 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Definition
We say that f (x) has the limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L if for every
xx0
number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 9 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Definition
We say that f (x) has the limit L at x0 , i.e, lim f (x) = L if for every
xx0
number > 0, a corresponding number > 0, such that

In other words,

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 9 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

Solution
Set x0 = 1, f (x) = 5x 3, and L = 2 in the definition of limit.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

Solution
Set x0 = 1, f (x) = 5x 3, and L = 2 in the definition of limit.
For any given > 0, we have to find suitable > 0 so that if x 6= 1 and x
is within distance of x0 = 1, i.e., if

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

Solution
Set x0 = 1, f (x) = 5x 3, and L = 2 in the definition of limit.
For any given > 0, we have to find suitable > 0 so that if x 6= 1 and x
is within distance of x0 = 1, i.e., if 0 < |x 1| < then,

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

Solution
Set x0 = 1, f (x) = 5x 3, and L = 2 in the definition of limit.
For any given > 0, we have to find suitable > 0 so that if x 6= 1 and x
is within distance of x0 = 1, i.e., if 0 < |x 1| < then, f (x) is within
distance of L = 2, that is,

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

Solution
Set x0 = 1, f (x) = 5x 3, and L = 2 in the definition of limit.
For any given > 0, we have to find suitable > 0 so that if x 6= 1 and x
is within distance of x0 = 1, i.e., if 0 < |x 1| < then, f (x) is within
distance of L = 2, that is, |f (x) 2| < .

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

EXAMPLE:
Show that lim (5x 3) = 2
x1

Solution
Set x0 = 1, f (x) = 5x 3, and L = 2 in the definition of limit.
For any given > 0, we have to find suitable > 0 so that if x 6= 1 and x
is within distance of x0 = 1, i.e., if 0 < |x 1| < then, f (x) is within
distance of L = 2, that is, |f (x) 2| < .We find by working
backwards from the - inequality:

5|x 1| <
|x 1| < /5

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 10 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution contd...
Thus, we can take = /5. If 0 < |x 1| < = /5, then

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 11 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution contd...
Thus, we can take = /5. If 0 < |x 1| < = /5, then

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 11 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution contd...
Thus, we can take = /5. If 0 < |x 1| < = /5, then

x1

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 11 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution contd...
Thus, we can take = /5. If 0 < |x 1| < = /5, then

## This proves that lim (5x 3) = 2.

x1

Remark
The value of we found is not the only one for which the inequality
|5x 5| < holds. Any smaller positive will do as well.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 11 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution contd...
Thus, we can take = /5. If 0 < |x 1| < = /5, then

## This proves that lim (5x 3) = 2.

x1

Remark
The value of we found is not the only one for which the inequality
|5x 5| < holds. Any smaller positive will do as well.

QUESTION:
Verify: a) lim x = x0 and b) lim k = k.
xx0 xx0

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 11 / 16

Finding algebraically for given
EXAMPLE:

For the limit lim x 1 = 2, find a > 0 that works for = 1.
x5

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 12 / 16

Finding algebraically for given
EXAMPLE:

For the limit lim x 1 = 2, find a > 0 that works for = 1.
x5

Solution
We find for such problems as follows:

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 12 / 16

Finding algebraically for given
EXAMPLE:

For the limit lim x 1 = 2, find a > 0 that works for = 1.
x5

Solution
We find for such problems as follows:
Solve the inequality |f (x) L| < to find an open interval (a, b) about x0
on which the inequality holds for all x 6= x0 .

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 12 / 16

Finding algebraically for given
EXAMPLE:

For the limit lim x 1 = 2, find a > 0 that works for = 1.
x5

Solution
We find for such problems as follows:
Solve the inequality |f (x) L| < to find an open interval (a, b) about x0
x 6= x0 .
on which the inequality holds for all
So, in our case, we need to solve | x 1 2| < 1, to find an interval
about x0 = 5 on which the inequality holds for all x 6= x0 .

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 12 / 16

Finding algebraically for given
EXAMPLE:

For the limit lim x 1 = 2, find a > 0 that works for = 1.
x5

Solution
We find for such problems as follows:
Solve the inequality |f (x) L| < to find an open interval (a, b) about x0
x 6= x0 .
on which the inequality holds for all
So, in our case, we need to solve | x 1 2| < 1, to find an interval
about x0 = 5 on which the inequality holds for all x 6= x0 .

| x 1 2| < 1

1 < x 1 2 < 1

1< x 1<3
1 < x 1 < 9 2 < x < 10
Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 12 / 16
Finding algebraically for given

Solution Contd...
Find a value of > 0, that places the open interval (x0 , x0 + )
centered at x0 inside the interval (a, b).

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 13 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution Contd...
Find a value of > 0, that places the open interval (x0 , x0 + )
centered at x0 inside the interval (a, b).
The inequality |f (x) L| < will hold for all x 6= x0 in this -interval.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 13 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution Contd...
Find a value of > 0, that places the open interval (x0 , x0 + )
centered at x0 inside the interval (a, b).
The inequality |f (x) L| < will hold for all x 6= x0 in this -interval.
So, in our case, we need to find a value of > 0 that places the centered
interval 5 < x < 5 + , inside the interval (2, 10).

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 13 / 16

Finding algebraically for given

Solution Contd...
Find a value of > 0, that places the open interval (x0 , x0 + )
centered at x0 inside the interval (a, b).
The inequality |f (x) L| < will hold for all x 6= x0 in this -interval.
So, in our case, we need to find a value of > 0 that places the centered
interval 5 < x < 5 + , inside the interval (2, 10).
If we take to be smaller than 3, then the inequality 0 < |x 5| < will
automatically place x between 2 and 10 to make | x 1 2| < 1.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 13 / 16

Algebra of limits

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits

1 The limit of the sum of two functions is the sum of their limits.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits

1 The limit of the sum of two functions is the sum of their limits.
2 The limit of the difference of two functions is the difference of their
limits.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits

1 The limit of the sum of two functions is the sum of their limits.
2 The limit of the difference of two functions is the difference of their
limits.
3 The limit of the product of two functions is the product of their limits.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits

1 The limit of the sum of two functions is the sum of their limits.
2 The limit of the difference of two functions is the difference of their
limits.
3 The limit of the product of two functions is the product of their limits.
4 The limit of a constant times a function is that constant times the
limit of the function.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits

1 The limit of the sum of two functions is the sum of their limits.
2 The limit of the difference of two functions is the difference of their
limits.
3 The limit of the product of two functions is the product of their limits.
4 The limit of a constant times a function is that constant times the
limit of the function.
5 The limit of the quotient of two functions is the quotient of their
limits, provided the limit of the denomitor is not zero.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits

1 The limit of the sum of two functions is the sum of their limits.
2 The limit of the difference of two functions is the difference of their
limits.
3 The limit of the product of two functions is the product of their limits.
4 The limit of a constant times a function is that constant times the
limit of the function.
5 The limit of the quotient of two functions is the quotient of their
limits, provided the limit of the denomitor is not zero.
6 The limit of any rational power of a function is that power of the
limit of the function, provided the latter is a real number.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 14 / 16

Algebra of limits
EXAMPLE:
Write the above mathematical facts written in plain english, as
mathematical statements.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 15 / 16

Algebra of limits
EXAMPLE:
Write the above mathematical facts written in plain english, as
mathematical statements.

EXAMPLE:
x 3 + 4x 2 3
Find the following limit, using the theorem above: lim
xx0 x2 + 5

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 15 / 16

Algebra of limits
EXAMPLE:
Write the above mathematical facts written in plain english, as
mathematical statements.

EXAMPLE:
x 3 + 4x 2 3
Find the following limit, using the theorem above: lim
xx0 x2 + 5

Theorem
A function f (x) has a limit L as x approaches x0 if and only if the left
hand and right hand limits are equal.

## Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 15 / 16

Algebra of limits
EXAMPLE:
Write the above mathematical facts written in plain english, as
mathematical statements.

EXAMPLE:
x 3 + 4x 2 3
Find the following limit, using the theorem above: lim
xx0 x2 + 5

Theorem
A function f (x) has a limit L as x approaches x0 if and only if the left
hand and right hand limits are equal.

Remark
We will not bother to prove this theorem in class now, but you can try this
as an exercise.
Chandra Vaidyanathan (DSU) Limits and Continuity August 28, 2015 15 / 16