Function notation and evaluation :
Function notation is the way in which a function can be represented. It is the simple way of giving information about the function without a lengthy written explanation.
The most popular and widely used function notation is f(x) which has to be read as "f" of "x".
Important note :
Here "f" and "x" are NOT multiplied.
Always functions are referred to by single letter names, like f, g, h and so on. Any letter can be used to name a function.
Let us consider the brightness of an electric bulb.
Let "f" stand for the brightness of the bulb and "x" stand for the voltage of electricity given to the bulb.
Here "f" depends on "x".
More clearly, the output of "f" (brightness) is depending on "x" (voltage).
So it will be written as f(x). When we plug some value for "x" (input), accordingly we will get some value for "f" (output).
It has been illustrated in the given figure.
Let us look at some more examples.
f(x) = 3x² + 5, g(x) = 3x - 7, h(x) = ax² + bx + c, s(t) = 1/t
Instead of f(x), sometimes we will be representing a function by "y".
That is, y = f(x)
Then the function f(x) = 5x + 6 will become y = 5x + 6
Here, the value of "x" is input and the value of "y" is out put.
The equation of a graph is mostly represented as y = f(x) and in the ordered pair (x,y), "x" stands for the value on x- axis and "y" stands for the value on y-axis.
The notation f : X ----> Y tells us that "f" is the rule which are mapping the elements from the set X to set Y.
The arrow has to be read as " mapped to"
1.Since different functions are represented using different variables like f, g, h, it avoids confusion as to which function is being examined.
2. It allows us to quickly identify the independent variable.
For example, in the function f(x) = ax² + bx + c, the independent variable is "x".
3. It allows to quickly state which element of the function has to be examined.
For example, in the function f(x) = 4x + 5, if the question says "find f(3)", we can understand that we have to find the value of "y" when x = 3
Example 1 :
Evaluate f(4) where f(x) = 3(2x+1)
To evaluate f(4), we have to plug x = 4 in f(x).
Then, we have
f(4) = 3[2(4) + 1]
f(4) = 3[8 + 1]
f(4) = 3 x 9
f(4) = 27
Example 2 :
Evaluate f(w+2) where f(x) = x² + 3x + 5
To evaluate f(w+2), we have to plug x = w in f(x).
Then, we have
f(w+2) = (w+2)² + 3(w+2) + 5
f(w+2) = w² + 2² + 2w(2) + 3w + 6 + 5
f(w+2) = w² + 4 + 4w + 3w + 6 + 5
f(w+2) = w² + 7w + 15
Example 3 :
Given f = x² - x - 4, if f(k) = 8, what is the value of "k" ?
Set the function rule to 8 and solve for "k".
Then, we have
x² - x - 4 = 8
Subtract 8 on both sides
(x² - x - 4) - 8 = 8 - 8
x² - x - 12 = 0
(x + 3)(x - 4) = 0
x + 3 =0 ; x - 4 = 0
x = -3 ; x = 4
Hence, the value of k can be either 4 or -3.
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