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Some Useful Hints on Geometry “Reasons”

In your study of geometry, you will be required to not only calculate angles, lengths etc. but also explain
WHY certain things are true. Here are a few hints to help with homework.... when you need reasons that
have to do with (A). Angles, (B). Things that look really obvious, (C). Congruent Triangles

A. Angles Reasons

A B
C ∠ACD = ∠BCE vertically opposite angles

D ∠ACB = ∠DCE vertically opposite angles


E
A

∠BCA = ∠ACD angles on a line


B D
C Don’t just write “supplementary angles” -- supplementary angles occur
in many different situations – this is a specific case
A

1
2 If AB || CD , then
3
∠1 = ∠4 corresponding angles
4
B ∠2 = ∠4 alternate interior angles
C
D ∠3 + ∠4 = 180° interior angles on the same side of the
transversal

Note: none of these statements is true unless you FIRST state that the
two lines are parallel.

A
If AB = AC, then

∠B = ∠C angles opposite equal sides of a triangle


B C or ∠ABC = ∠ACB are equal
This reason can be shortened to
∠’s opp. = sides of a ∆ are =

So, if you know 2 sides of a triangle are equal, you can CONCLUDE that the angles opposite
these 2 sides are equal.

A
If ∠B = ∠C, then

AB = AC sides opposite equal angles of a triangle


B C are equal
or shorten to
sides opp. = ∠’s of a ∆ are =

So, if you know that 2 angles of a triangle are equal, you can CONCLUDE that the sides
opposite these 2 angles are equal.

B N
A K Suppose you already know that ∠A = ∠K and ∠B = ∠N, then

∠C = ∠ E If 2 angles in 1 triangle match 2 angles in


a second triangle, then the 3rd angles are
equal
This can be shortened to
C 3rd angles of triangles are =
E and abbreviated to 3rd ∠’s of ∆’s are =
B. Things that look really obvious....

First a very simple example.... Suppose you’re given that KP ⊥ NT. Then it’s obvious that you
K have 90° angles, right? So write it like this:

KP ⊥ NT Given
N P T ∠KPN = ∠KPT = 90° Definition of perpendicular
or shorten to Def. of ⊥

Suppose you’re given that E is the midpoint of DF. Then obviously


D DF is split into two equal parts. Write this:
E
F E is the midpoint of DF Given
DE = EF Definition of midpoint

E F Suppose you’re given that FG bisects EH. Then it’s obvious that
C FG cuts EH into 2 equal segments. Write this:

G FG bisects EH Given
H EC = CH Definition of bisects

A Suppose you’re given that DB bisects ∠ABC. Then it’s obvious that
B DB splits ∠ABC into 2 equal angles. Write it like this:
D
DB bisects ∠ABC Given
C ∠ABD = ∠CBD Definition of bisects or just def.of bisects

K
Suppose you’re given that KG is an altitude of the triangle. An altitude
E is a line segment joining a vertex to the opposite side in such a way that
it is perpendicular to the opposite side. Then it’s obvious that the
G M altitude KG is perpendicular to side EM and there are two 90° angles.
Write: KG is an altitude Given
KG ⊥ EM definition of altitude
∠KGE = ∠KGM = 90° definition of ⊥

C
Suppose you’re given that CE is a median of the triangle. A median is
a line segment joining a vertex to the midpoint of the opposite side.
Then it’s obvious that E is the midpoint of side DF and DE equals EF.
Write: CE is a median Given
F DE = EF Definition of median
D
E

So.... If you write a statement using a geometry term, you can often make the “obvious conclusion”
in the next statement, and write “definition of .... “ (whatever term you wrote)

C. Congruent Triangles

There are only THREE reasons you will need, in order to conclude that 2 triangles are congruent.

1) SSS All 3 sides lengths in one triangle match the 3 side lengths in the second triangle.
2) SAS 2 side lengths in one triangle match 2 side lengths in the second triangle, and the angle
between the 2 sides is the same in both triangles.
3) ASA 2 angles in one triangle match 2 angles in the second triangle, and the side between the
2 angles is the same length in both triangles.

Here are a few hints for doing congruent triangle proofs:

1) As with any proof, always mark up the diagram with everything you know is true. Figure out the
“story” of how the proof works BEFORE you start to write the statements and reasons. Decide why the
triangles are congruent (which sides or angles are equal, which one of the above reasons to use).
2) If it’s SSS, you must write three “S” statements.

If it’s ASA, you must write two “A” statements and one “S” statement and the “S” must be
the side between the two angles, not just any side.

If it’s SAS, you must write two “S” statements and one “A” statement and the “A” must be the
angle between the two sides, not just any angle.

Your proof will probably involve other statements as well!!

3) When you’ve done the “S” and/or “A” statements, write a congruency statement. Remember the
order of the letters matters. Write the correct reason, SSS, SAS or ASA.

e.g. P R Suppose the 2 triangles are congruent by ASA. If the


congruency statement starts with ∆PQR, then the second
T triangle must be in the order ∆GTA
Q
Write: ∆PQR ≅ ∆GTA ASA
A G

NOTE: SSS, SAS and ASA are written ONLY with a congruency statement, NEVER anywhere else!

Here’s one example of a congruency proof:

A B C D E GIVEN: ∠ABF = ∠EDF,


CF bisects ∠BFD

PROVE: ∆BCF ≅ ∆DCF

Start by marking up the diagram with the given information.


The diagram should end up looking like the one below:
F
A B C D E
•   •
The “story” would be like this:
Since the • angles are equal,
the  angles beside them are equal,
which makes sides BF and DF equal.
CF also divides ∠BFD into 2 equal angles.
Now you can see congruency by ASA. 
Now start writing the statements and reasons.

Statements Reasons

∠ABF = ∠EDF Given


∠CBF = ∠CDF Supplementary to equal angles 1st “A” statement
BF = DF Sides opposite equal angles of a ∆ are equal the “S” statement
CF bisects ∠BFD Given
∠BFC = ∠DFC Definition of bisects 2nd “A” statement

∆BCF ≅ ∆DCF ASA