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5 INVERSE OF A FUNCTION

Recall that a relation is a set of ordered pairs (x, y).


i.e. Values of the independent variable are paired with values of the dependent variable.

The inverse of a relation can be found by switching the domain and range of the relation
(interchanging the x and y co-ordinates in each of the ordered pairs).

Recall: In Grade 10, we used SIN −1 to find the angle that has the value of the given ratio.
This is the inverse function of SIN .

F = {( 2,3), ( 4.1), (6,5)}


Eg.
F −1 = {(3,2), (1,4), (5,6)}

Note: that f -1 is read as “the inverse of f”


Note: that the –1 is NOT an exponent
and so

Recall that a function is a specific type of relation where each value of x corresponds with
only one value of y.

So if the inverse of a function f(x), is also a function, then the inverse of f(x) is denoted by f-1(x).

Example 1.
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Find the inverse f of the function, whose ordered pairs are
{(−2,−8), (−1,1), (0,0), (1,1, ).( 2,8)} . Graph both relations. Is the inverse a function? Explain.
y
8 Findings: From your graph you should see that
by switching the x-and y-coordinates, you are
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reflecting the original function, f ( x ) , in the line
4 .

2 Therefore if you were to fold the graph along the


line y = x, the graph of the original f ( x ) and it's
x inverse, f −1 ( x ) would match and lie on top of
-8 -6 -4 -2 2 4 6 8
each other.
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-4 Points that lie on the line y=x are invariant as here,


the x-value equals the y-value, making the
-6 interchange inconsequential.

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Finding the Equation of the Inverse

Example 2

Given f ( x) = 3 x + 2 , find f-1.

Step 1: Replace the f ( x ) with y.

Step 2: Interchange the variable x with the y-variable.

Step 3: Rearrange the equation to solve for y.(i.e. "undress" the y (SAMDEB)).

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Step 4: Replace with the y with the inverse notation, f ( x) .

Is the inverse a function? Explain.

Example 3

For each of the following find f-1

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a) f ( x) = −2 x −1 b) f ( x ) = 4( x − 3) +
2

x −5
c) f ( x) =
3
Example 4

Given f ( x ) =1 − 2 x ,a) Find the equation of its inverse.


b) Graph both f ( x ) and the inverse. Is the inverse function?
c) Determine the domain and range of f ( x ) and its inverse.
Solution y
8

6
4
2

x
-8 -6 -4 -2 2 4 6 8
-2

-4
-6

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Example 5

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The formula to find temperature in degrees Celsius into degrees Fahrenheit is F = C + 32 .
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Determine the inverse of this function. What does this represent? Is it a function?

Solution