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## Defining continuity at a point

Current time:0:00Total duration:8:16

# Continuity at a point

AP Calc: LIM‑2 (EU), LIM‑2.A (LO), LIM‑2.A.2 (EK)

## Video transcript

- [Instructor] What we're
going to do in this video is come up with a more rigorous
definition for continuity. And the general idea of continuity, we've got an intuitive idea of the past, is that a function is
continuous at a point, is if you can draw the
graph of that function at that point without
picking up your pencil. So what do we mean by that? And this is... What I just said is not that rigorous, or not rigorous at all, is that well, let's think about
the point right over here. Let's say that's RC. If I can draw the graph at that point, the value of the function at that point without picking up my pencil, or my pen, then it's continuous there. So I could just start here, and I don't have to pick up my pencil, and there you go. I can go through that point, so we could say that our
function is continuous there. But if I had a function that looked somewhat different that that, if I had a function that looked like this, let's say that it is
defined up until then, and then there's a bit of a jump, and then it goes like this, well this would be very hard to draw at... This function would be very hard to draw going through x equals c
without picking up my pen. Let's see, my pen is touching the screen, touching the screen, touching the screen. How do I keep drawing this function without picking up my pen? I would have to pick it up, and then move back down here. And so that is an intuitive sense that we are not continuous
in this case right over here. Well let's actually come up with a formal definition for continuity, and then see if it feels intuitive for us. So the formal definition of
continuity, let's start here, we'll start with continuity at a point. So we could say the
function f is continuous... Continuous at x equals c. If, and only if... I'll draw this two-way arrow
to show if, and only if, the two-sided limit of f of x, as x approaches c, is equal to f of c. So this seems very technical. But let's just think
about what it's saying. It's saying look, if the limit as we approach c from the left and the right of f of x, if that's actually the
value of our function there, then we are continuous at that point. So let's look at three examples. Let's look at one
example, we are, we're... By our picking-up-the-pencil idea, it feels like we are
continuous at a point. And then let's think
about a couple of examples where it doesn't seem like
we're continuous at a point, and see how this more
rigorous definition applies. So, let's say that my function... So let's say this right over here is y is equal to f of x. And, we care about the
behavior right over here when x is equal to c. This is my X-axis, that's my Y-axis. So we care about the behavior
when x is equal to c. And so, notice, from our first intuitive sense, I can definitely draw this function as we go through x equals c
without picking up my pencil, so it feels continuous there. There's no jumps or
discontinuities that we can tell. It just kind of keeps on going. It seems all connected, is
one way to think about it. But let's think about this definition. Well, the limit as x approaches
c from the left, it is... As we approach from the left, it looks like it is approaching... It looks like it is approaching f of c. So this is the value,
f of c right over here. And as we approach from the right, as we approach from the right, it also looks like it's
approaching f of c. And we are defined right at x equals c. And it is the value
that we are approaching from both the left or the right. So this seems good in this scenario. So now let's look at some scenarios that we would have to pick up the pencil as we draw the function through
that point, through that... Through that... When x is equal to c. So let's look at a scenario. Let's look at a scenario where we have what's often called a point discontinuity, although you don't have
to know at this point, no pun intended, the
formal terminology for it. So let's say we have a function that... Let's see, this is c. Now let's say our function
looks something... Something like this. So we go like this, and at c let's say it's equal to that. So, f of c is right over here. F of c would be that value. But what's the limit as x approaches c? So the limit as x approaches c, this would be a two-sided limit of f of x. Well, this is, as we
approach from the left, it looks like we are approaching
this value right over here. And from the right, it looks like we are
approaching that same value. And so, we could call that L. And L is different than f of c. And so, in this case, by
our formal definition, we will not be continuous at, for... F will not be continuous for x is equal... Or at the point x... Or when x is equal to c. And you can see that there. If we try to draw this, okay, my pencil is touching the paper, touching the paper, touching the paper. Uh oh, if I needed to keep
drawing this function, I'd have to pick up my
pencil, move it over here, then pick it up again and
then jump right back down. And but this rigorous definition is giving us the same conclusion. The limit as we approach x equals c from the left and the right, it's a different value than f of c. And so, this is not continuous. Not... Not continuous. And let's think about another scenario. Let's think about a scenario... And actually, maybe let's
think about a scenario where the limit... The two-sided limit doesn't even exist. So, there are my axes, x and y. And let's say it's doing
something like this. Let's say it's doing something like this, and that it does something
like this and goes like that. And let's say that this
right over here is our c. And so let's see, this is
f of c right over here. That is... Lemme draw a little bit neater. That is f of c. And it does look like the limit, as x approaches c from the left, so from values less than c, it does look like that
is approaching f of c. But if we look at the limit as x approaches c from the right, that looks like it's
approaching some other value. That looks like it's approaching
this value right over here, let's call it L. That's approaching L, and L does not equal f of c. And so in this situation, the two-sided limit doesn't even exist. We're approaching two different values when we approach from the
left and from the right. And since so the limit
doesn't even exist at c, this is definitely not
going to be continuous. And this matches up to our expectations with our little
do-we-have-to-pick-up-the-pencil test. If I have to draw this,
I can leave my pencil, it's on the paper, it's on the paper, it's on the paper, it's on the paper. How am I going to continue
to draw this function, this graph of the function,
without picking up my pencil? Pick it up, put it back down,
and then keep drawing it. And so once again, this right
over here is not continuous. Both intuitively, by our
pick-up-the-pencil definition, and also by this more
rigorous definition where, in this case the limit, the two-sided limit at x
equals c doesn't even exist, so we're definitely not
gonna be continuous. But even when the
two-sided limit does exist, but the limit is a different value than the value of the function, that will also not be continuous. The only situation that
it's going to be continuous is if the two-sided limit
approaches the same value as the value of the function. And if that's true, then we're continuous. If we're continuous,
that is going to be true.

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