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### Course: Get ready for Precalculus > Unit 3

Lesson 2: Reflecting functions# Reflecting functions introduction

We can reflect the graph of y=f(x) over the x-axis by graphing y=-f(x) and over the y-axis by graphing y=f(-x). See this in action and understand why it happens.

## Want to join the conversation?

- Khan wants to accentuate some of those curves(47 votes)
- how did Desmos take the sqr(-x)? an imaginary number in a two dimensional plane doesn't make sense to me.(16 votes)
- It is not imaginary for the whole domain. If you put a 0 in, it is real. Further, if you put in negative values for x, - (-x) gives a positive x. So adding this negative creates a relection across the y axis, and the domain is x ≤ 0.(33 votes)

- I thought it was not possible to graph sqrt(-1) unless I use imaginary numbers, is this graphing website consistent?(9 votes)
- Yeah, it is. You can tell because when you graph sqrt(x) the first quadrant is empty because plotting sqrt of negative numbers isn't possible without imaginary numbers. If you plot sqrt(-x), the second quadrant is instead, because the first quadrant is now sqrt of positive numbers (negative * negative = positive.) :)(11 votes)

- How can I tell whether it's flipping over the x-axis or the y-axis (visually speaking)(5 votes)
- Like other functions, f(x) = a g(bx), if a is negative (outside) it reflects across x axis and if b is negative it reflects across the y axis. So for square root functions, it would look like y = a √(bx). Outside reflect across x such as y = -√x, and inside reflect across y such as y = √-x. It works for all functions though many reflections will not look different based on the function. Quadratic y = -x^2 reflects across x, y = (-x)^2 reflects across y (though it would be the same because of reflexive property of quadratics).(8 votes)

- for the k(x) shouldnt the 2 negatives cancel each other out and become a positive?(5 votes)
- That is when they're multiplied directly against each other. That does not apply when, let's say, an nth (i.e a square) root or an absolute value is in between it, like for k(x).(4 votes)

- How is it possible to graph a number which seemingly never ends (like e at3:40)?(4 votes)
- As far as I know, most calculators and graphing applications just have a built-in set approximation for common irrational numbers like e, calculated beforehand from a definition like the infinite sum of (1/n!). We can't really know what e is, besides e itself, so we use an approximation instead of calculating e to a billion places for every point we use in the graph, to save computing power.(5 votes)

- What is a principle root?(4 votes)
- Most numbers have two roots, a number and its negative inverse. For example, the square roots of 25 are 5 and -5, since (5*5) = (-5*-5) = 25.

The principle root of a number is simply the positive root, which in the previous example is 5.

Hope this helps(4 votes)

- When the function of f(x) and -f(x) were plotted on the same graph and f(x) was equal to sqrt(x),a parabola formed. Does this have any intuitive significance?(5 votes)
- How do I add square root on desmos?(3 votes)
- Is this on the graphing calculator? If you type "sqrt" it should make one for you. There's also a keyboard button at the bottom left which has a lot of other functions.(4 votes)

- at4:45, the script say 'accentuates', what does that mean?(4 votes)

## Video transcript

- [Instructor] So you see
here, this is a screenshot of the Desmos online graphing calculator. You can use it at desmos.com, and I encourage you to
use this after this video, or even while I'm doing this video, but the goal here is to think
about reflection of functions. So let's just start with some examples. Let's saying that I
had a function, f of x, and it is equal to the square root of x. So that's what it looks like. Fairly reasonable. Now, let's make another function, g of x, and I'll start off by also making that the square root of x. So no surprise there, g of x was graphed right on top of f of x. But what would happen if instead of it just being the square root of x, what would happen if we
put a negative out front right over there? What do you think is going
to happen when I do that? Well, let's just try it out. When I put the negative, it looks like it flipped
it over the x-axis. It looks like it reflected
it over the x-axis. Now instead of doing that way, what if we had another function, h of x, and I'll start off by making
it identical to f of x. So once again, it's right over there. It traces out f of x. Instead of putting the negative out in front of the radical sign, what if we put it under the radical sign? What if we replaced x with a negative x? What do you think is
going to happen there? Well, let's try it out. If we replace it, that shifted it over the y-axis. And then, pause this video, and think about how you
shifted over both axes. Well, we could do a, well, I'm running out of letters, maybe I will do a, I don't
know, k of x is equal to, so I'm gonna put the negative
outside the radical sign, and then, I'm gonna take the square root, and I'm gonna put a negative
inside the radical sign. And notice, it flipped it over both. It flipped it over both
the x-axis and the y-axis to go over here. Now, why does this happen? Well, let's just start with the g of x. So when you get put the
negative out in front, when you negate everything
that's in the expression that defines a function, whatever value you would've
gotten of the function before, you're now going to
get the opposite of it. So when x is zero, we get zero. When x is one, instead of one now, you're taking the negative of it so you're gonna get negative one. When x is four, instead
of getting positive two, you're now going to get negative two. When x is equal to nine, instead
of getting positive three, you now get negative three. So hopefully, that makes sense why putting a negative out front of an entire expression
is going to flip it over, flip its graph over the x-axis. Now what about replacing
an x with a negative x? Well, one way to think about it, now is, whenever you inputted one before, that would now be a negative one that you're trying to
evaluate the principle root of and we know that the
principle root function is not defined for negative one. But when x is equal to negative one, our original function wasn't defined there when x is equal to negative one, but if you take the negative of that, well now you're taking
this principle root of one. And so, that's why this is now defined. So, whatever value the
function would've taken on at a given value of x,
it now takes that value on the corresponding opposite value of x, and on the negative value of that x. And so that's why it
flips it over the y-axis. And this is true with
many types of functions. We don't have to do this just
with a square root function. Let's try another function. Let's say, we tried this
for e to the x power. So there you go. We have a very classic exponential there. Now let's say that g of x is
equal to negative e to the x. And if what we expect to happen happens, this will flip it over the x-axis. So negative e to the x power and indeed that is what happens. And then, how would we
flip it over the y-axis? Well, let's do an h of x. That's going to be equal to e to the, instead of putting an x there, we will put a negative x. Negative x. And there you have it. Notice, it flipped it over the y-axis. Now, both examples that I just did, these are very simple expressions. Let's imagine something that's
a little bit more complex. Let's say that f of x, let's give it a nice,
higher-degree polynomial, so let's say it's x to the third minus two x squared. That's a nice one and actually let's just
add another term here. So plus two x. And I wanna make it, make it minus two x. I wanna see it accentuates
some of those curves. All right, so that's a
pretty interesting graph. Now, how would I flip it over the x-axis? Well the way that I would do that is I could define a g of x. I could do it two ways. I could say g of x is equal
to the negative of f of x and we get that. So that's essentially just
taking this entire expression and multiplying it by negative one. And notice, it's multiplying, it's flipping it over the x-axis. Another way we could've
done it is instead of that, we could've said the
negative of x to the third minus two x squared, and then minus two x, and then we close those parentheses, and we get the same effect. Now, what if we wanted to
flip it over the y-axis? Well then instead of putting a negative on the entire expression, what we wanna do is replace
our x's with a negative x. So you could do it like this. You could say that that's
going to be f of negative x and that has the effect
of everywhere you saw an x before you replaced
it with a negative x. And notice, it did exactly what we expect. It flipped it over over the y-axis. Now, the other way we could've don't that just to make it clear, that's the same thing as
negative x to the third power minus two times negative x squared minus two times negative x. And of course, we could
simplify that expression, but notice, it has the exact same idea. And if we wanted to flip it over both the x and y-axis, well we've already flipped
it over the y-axis, to flip it over the x-axis, oh whoops, I just deleted it, to flip it over the,
I'm having issues here, to flip it over the x-axis as well, we would, oh and it gave
me a parentheses already, I would just put a negative out front. So I put a negative out
front and there you have it. This flipped it over
both the x and y-axis. You can do them in either order and you will get to this green curve. Now, an easier way of writing that would've been just the
negative of f of negative x and you would've gotten
to that same place. So go to Desmos, play around with it, really good to build this intuition, and really understand why it's happening.