- Thread starter
- #1

that is not true for all x, it is true for [tex]x\in [3,\infty) [/tex]

I want to teach my students that the exponents distribute over fractions unless we have a case like that square root or any even root.

what do you think ?

- Thread starter Amer
- Start date

- Thread starter
- #1

that is not true for all x, it is true for [tex]x\in [3,\infty) [/tex]

I want to teach my students that the exponents distribute over fractions unless we have a case like that square root or any even root.

what do you think ?

- Jan 17, 2013

- 1,667

Generally for the case

\(\displaystyle \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \) we require that

\(\displaystyle \frac{a}{b}\geq 0 \) which means either

- a $\geq$ 0,b>0
- $a\leq 0$,b<0

For the first case we can state \(\displaystyle \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}}=\frac{\sqrt{a}}{\sqrt{b}} \)

- Thread starter
- #3

What made me ask this question the website wolfarmalpha plot the function

[tex]f(x) = \frac{\sqrt{x-3}}{\sqrt{x}} [/tex]

although

[tex]f(-1) = \frac{\sqrt{-4}}{\sqrt{-2}} [/tex] which is not a real number

the domain of the function is [tex] [3,\infty) [/tex]

f should start from x=3 to infinity, Am I right ?

- Jan 17, 2013

- 1,667

Wolfram gives the plot of the function in the complex plane , we have to add the condition that $x \geq 3$ to only focus on real part.

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Unfortunately this is a real number [tex]f(-1) = \frac{\sqrt{-4}}{\sqrt{-2}} =\frac{2i}{\sqrt{2} i}=\sqrt{2}[/tex][tex]f(-1) = \frac{\sqrt{-4}}{\sqrt{-2}} [/tex] which is not a real number

- Aug 30, 2012

- 1,250

ZaidAlyafey's response shows that there is, in fact, a distinction between \(\displaystyle \sqrt{\frac{x - 3}{x}}\) and \(\displaystyle \frac{\sqrt{x - 3}}{\sqrt{x}}\). What level are your students at? It might be better to sweep this particular kind of example under the rug.[tex]\sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}} = \frac{\sqrt{x-3}}{\sqrt{x}} [/tex]

-Dan

Last edited:

- Admin
- #6

\(\displaystyle \frac{x-3}{x}\ge0\)

we find $x$ in:

\(\displaystyle (-\infty,0)\,\cup\,[3,\infty)\)

And over this domain, we may state:

\(\displaystyle \sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}}=\frac{\sqrt{x-3}}{\sqrt{x}}\)

- Thread starter
- #7

They are high school students 11th classZaidAlyafey's response shows that there is, in fact, a distinction between \(\displaystyle \sqrt{\frac{x - 3}{3}}\) and \(\displaystyle \frac{\sqrt{x - 3}}{\sqrt{x}}\). What level are your students at? It might be better to sweep this particular kind of example under the rug.

-Dan

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I think we should split it into two parts if x>=3

\(\displaystyle \frac{x-3}{x}\ge0\)

we find $x$ in:

\(\displaystyle (-\infty,0)\,\cup\,[3,\infty)\)

And over this domain, we may state:

\(\displaystyle \sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}}=\frac{\sqrt{x-3}}{\sqrt{x}}\)

[tex] \sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}} = \frac{\sqrt{x-3}}{\sqrt{x}} [/tex]

if x< 0

[tex] \sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}} = \frac{\sqrt{3-x}}{\sqrt{-x}} [/tex]

right ?

- Admin
- #8

That would indeed be a better approach, as this way there are no imaginary factors to divide out. ....

I think we should split it into two parts if x>=3

[tex] \sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}} = \frac{\sqrt{x-3}}{\sqrt{x}} [/tex]

if x< 0

[tex] \sqrt{\frac{x-3}{x}} = \frac{\sqrt{3-x}}{\sqrt{-x}} [/tex]

right ?