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Using complementary angles

Sal solved the following problem: Given that cos(58°)=0.53, find sin(32°). Created by Sal Khan.

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  • leaf green style avatar for user Drake
    Would sin(45) also equal cos(45), since they are complementary angles?
    (31 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Solbi
    What is does soh coh toa stand for?
    can you clarify it please?
    thank you?
    (4 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user Abhinav Bathula
    hi im in 8th grade, so this may sound stupid, but what exactly are the definitions of sine, cosine and tangent? I mean are they used in geomrtry, algebra, pre cal, etc.?
    (3 votes)
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  • male robot donald style avatar for user Michael Hendricks
    If cos(58°)=0.53 does that mean that the ratio of BC/AB also equals 0.53? If so what does this tell us? I mean what is the significance of know how cos(58) evaluates?
    (3 votes)
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    • mr pink green style avatar for user David Severin
      Yes to the first question, and it tells us that if we know either the length of the hypotenuse or the adjacent side, we can find the other one. It also tells us that all 32-58-90 triangles will have the same proportion for the cos no matter the size.
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Cali
    Confused on all of the comments about sqrt- what exactly does that have to do with SOH CAH TOA and such?
    (2 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      When you progress through the course a little more, you'll learn that since all similar triangles have the same trig values and the 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 have special side ratios, you can get the trig values of angles in these triangles.
      For example, in a 30 - 60 - 90 triangle, the side lengths can be written as x - x*sqrt(3) - 2x. If we were to take the cosine of the 60 degree angle, we would take the side adjacent to the 60 degree angle and divide it by hypotenuse. This means we would get x / 2x. "x" cancels out, leaving us with cos(60 deg) = 1/2
      (4 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Nathan Barnard
    how can you caculate cos58 roughly equal to 0.53?
    (1 vote)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Gavin Ryan
    what would the tangent of the right angle be? the sin would be 1, and the cos would be be 0 (idk why, but i checked it on the calc and it said 0) but when i tried to calculate the tangent , it said invalid input
    (1 vote)
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  • female robot grace style avatar for user Nishtha Dani
    While figuring out the sin, cos or tan of 90 deg, which side should we take as adjacent ? Because none of the sides that make the angle is the hypotenuse .
    (1 vote)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Peter Kolb
      When using SOH CAH TOA, you must use a non-90 deg angle as your reference angle. Using the right angle with SOH CAH TOA creates a problem that you discovered -> the opposite side IS the hypotenuse and there is no way to distinguish between the two legs.

      Use a different angle. If one isn't given, use inverse sine, cosine, or tangent with the two given sides to find it.
      (5 votes)
  • marcimus purple style avatar for user Shubhi Mathur
    What does SOH stand for?
    (1 vote)
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    • starky tree style avatar for user Austin
      SOH-CAH-TOA is an abbreviation to help you remember when to use cosine, sin, or tangent of an angle. So SOH would stand for Sin equals Opposite side of a triangle over the Hypotenuse of the triangle. CAH would stand for Cosine equals Adjacent side of a triangle over the Hypotenuse of the the triangle. And finally, TOA represents Tangent equals Opposite side of a triangle over the adjacent side of the triangle. You would take the angle you are focusing on, and then find the opposite side of that angle and hypotenuse side of the triangle and plug in those numbers for the sin of an angle (an example).

      SOH-CAH-TOA is only used in right triangles
      (4 votes)
  • male robot donald style avatar for user Victor Chan
    How did Sal know the sine of 58 degrees was about 0.53. I thought you needed to know the lengths of the sides first.
    (0 votes)
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Video transcript

We are told that the cosine of 58 degrees is roughly equal to 0.53. And that's roughly equal to, because it just keeps going on and on. I just rounded it to the nearest hundredth. And then we're asked, what is the sine of 32 degrees? And I encourage you to pause this video and try it on your own. And a hint is to look at this right triangle. One of the angles is already labeled 32 degrees. Figure out what all of the angles are, and then use the fundamental definitions, your sohcahtoa definitions, to see if you can figure out what sine of 32 degrees is. So I'm assuming you've given a go at it. Let's work it through now. So we know that the sum of the angles of a triangle add up to 180. Now in a right angle, one of the angles is 90 degrees. So that means that the other two must add up to 90. These two add up to 90 plus another 90 is going to be 180 degrees. Or another way to think about is that the other two non-right angles are going to be complementary. So what plus 32 is equal to 90? Well, 90 minus 32 is 58. So this right over here is going to be 58 degrees. Well, why is that interesting? Well, we already know what the cosine of 58 degrees is equal to. But let's think about it in terms of ratios of the lengths of sides of this right triangle. Let's just write down sohcahtoa. Soh, sine, is opposite over hypotenuse. Cah, cosine, is adjacent over hypotenuse. Toa, tangent, is opposite over adjacent. So we could write down the cosine of 58 degrees, which we already know. If we think about it in terms of these fundamental ratios, cosine is adjacent over hypotenuse. This is a 58 degree angle. The side that is adjacent to it is-- let me do it in this color-- is side BC right over here. It's one of the sides of the angle, the side of the angle that is not the hypotenuse. The other side, this over here, is a hypotenuse. So this is going to be the adjacent, the length of the adjacent side, BC, over the length of the hypotenuse. The length of the hypotenuse, well, that is AB. Now let's think about what the sine of 32 degrees would be. Well, sine is opposite over hypotenuse. So now we're looking at this 32 degree angle. What side is opposite it? Well, it opens up onto BC. And what's the length of the hypotenuse? It's AB. Notice, the sine of 32 degrees is BC over AB. The cosine of 58 degrees is BC over AB. Or another way of thinking about it, the sine of this angle is the same thing as the cosine of this angle. So we could literally write the sine-- I want to do that in that pink color-- the sine of 32 degrees is equal to the cosine of 58 degrees, which is roughly equal to 0.53. And this is a really, really useful property. The sine of an angle is equal to the cosine of its complement. So we could write this in general terms. We could write that the sine of some angle is equal to the cosine of its complement, is equal to the cosine of 90 minus theta. Think about it. I could change this entire problem. Instead of making this the sine of 32 degrees, I could make this the sine of 25 degrees. And if someone gave you the cosine of-- what's 90 minus 25?-- if someone gave you the cosine of 65 degrees, then you could think about this as 25. The complement is going to be right over here. This would be 65 degrees. And then you could use the exact same idea.