2.1 The Difference Quotientap Calculus

The calculator will find the difference quotient for the given function, with steps shown.

  • In general, you can skip the multiplication sign, so `5x` is equivalent to `5*x`.
  • In general, you can skip parentheses, but be very careful: e^3x is `e^3x`, and e^(3x) is `e^(3x)`.
  • Also, be careful when you write fractions: 1/x^2 ln(x) is `1/x^2 ln(x)`, and 1/(x^2 ln(x)) is `1/(x^2 ln(x))`.
  • If you skip parentheses or a multiplication sign, type at least a whitespace, i.e. write sin x (or even better sin(x)) instead of sinx.
  • Sometimes I see expressions like tan^2xsec^3x: this will be parsed as `tan^(2*3)(x sec(x))`. To get `tan^2(x)sec^3(x)`, use parentheses: tan^2(x)sec^3(x).
  • Similarly, tanxsec^3x will be parsed as `tan(xsec^3(x))`. To get `tan(x)sec^3(x)`, use parentheses: tan(x)sec^3(x).
  • From the table below, you can notice that sech is not supported, but you can still enter it using the identity `sech(x)=1/cosh(x)`.
  • If you get an error, double-check your expression, add parentheses and multiplication signs where needed, and consult the table below.
  • All suggestions and improvements are welcome. Please leave them in comments.

The calculator will find the difference quotient for the given function, with steps shown. Show Instructions In general, you can skip the multiplication sign, so `5x` is equivalent to `5.x`. Consider the difference quotient formula. F (x+h)−f (x) h f (x + h) - f (x) h Find the components of the definition. Tap for more steps. This video explains how to evaluate the difference quotient, and simplify it. Remember to put parentheses around the function that is being subtracted, so y.

The following table contains the supported operations and functions:
TypeGet
Constants
ee
pi`pi`
ii (imaginary unit)
Operations
a+ba+b
a-ba-b
a*b`a*b`
a^b, a**b`a^b`
sqrt(x), x^(1/2)`sqrt(x)`
cbrt(x), x^(1/3)`root(3)(x)`
root(x,n), x^(1/n)`root(n)(x)`
x^(a/b)`x^(a/b)`
x^a^b`x^(a^b)`
abs(x)` x `
Functions
e^x`e^x`
ln(x), log(x)ln(x)
ln(x)/ln(a)`log_a(x)`
Trigonometric Functions
sin(x)sin(x)
cos(x)cos(x)
tan(x)tan(x), tg(x)
cot(x)cot(x), ctg(x)
sec(x)sec(x)
csc(x)csc(x), cosec(x)
Inverse Trigonometric Functions
asin(x), arcsin(x), sin^-1(x)asin(x)
acos(x), arccos(x), cos^-1(x)acos(x)
atan(x), arctan(x), tan^-1(x)atan(x)
acot(x), arccot(x), cot^-1(x)acot(x)
asec(x), arcsec(x), sec^-1(x)asec(x)
acsc(x), arccsc(x), csc^-1(x)acsc(x)
Hyperbolic Functions
sinh(x)sinh(x)
cosh(x)cosh(x)
tanh(x)tanh(x)
coth(x)coth(x)
1/cosh(x)sech(x)
1/sinh(x)csch(x)
Inverse Hyperbolic Functions
asinh(x), arcsinh(x), sinh^-1(x)asinh(x)
acosh(x), arccosh(x), cosh^-1(x)acosh(x)
atanh(x), arctanh(x), tanh^-1(x)atanh(x)
acoth(x), arccoth(x), cot^-1(x)acoth(x)
acosh(1/x)asech(x)
asinh(1/x)acsch(x)
Quotient

Enter an expression and the variable to differentiate with respect to. Then click the Differentiate button.


Finding the derivative of

involves computing the following limit:


To put it mildly, this calculation would be unpleasant. We would like to find ways to compute derivatives without explicitly using the definition of the derivative as the limit of a difference quotient. A useful preliminary result is the following:
Derivative of a Constant
lf c is any real number and if f(x) = c for all x, then f ' (x) = 0 for all x . That is, the derivative of a constant function is the zero function.
It is easy to see this geometrically. Referring to Figure 1, we see that the graph of the constant function f(x) = c is a horizontal line. Since a horizontal line has slope 0, and the line is its own tangent, it follows that the slope of the tangent line is zero everywhere.
We next give a rule for differentiating f(x) = xn where n is any real number.Some of the following results have already been verified in the previous section, and the
others can be verified by using the definition of the derivative.

2.1 the difference quotientap calculus worksheet


This pattern suggests the following general formula for powers of n where n is a positive integer.
Power Rule


In fact, the power rule is valid for any real number n and thus can be used to differentiate a variety of non-polynomial functions. The following example illustrates some applications of the power rule.
Example 1

Differentiate each of the following functions:

2.12.1 The Difference Quotientap Calculus


(a) Since f(x) = 5, f is a constant function; hence f '(x) = 0.

(b) With n = 15 in the power rule, f '(x) = 15x14

(c) Note that f(x) = x1/2 . Hence, with n = 1/2 in the power rule,


(d) Since f(x) = x-1, it follows from the power rule that f '(x) = -x-2 = -1/x2
The rule for differentiating constant functions and the power rule are explicit differentiation rules. The following rules tell us how to find derivatives of combinations of functions in terms of the derivatives of their constituent parts. In each case, we assume that f '(x) and g'(x) exist and A and B are constants.


The four rules listed above, together with the rule on differentiating constant functions and the power rule, provide us with techniques for differentiating any function that is expressible as a power or root of a quotient of polynomial functions. The next series of examples illustrates this. The linearity rule and the product rule will be justified at the end of the section; a proof of the extended power rule appears in the section on the chain rule.
Example 2 Let

Find f '(x).
Solution Using the linearity rule, we see that

2.1 The Difference Quotient Ap Calculus Algebra

Example 3 Let

Finding The Difference Quotient

The

Again using linearity,


f'(x) = a(x3)' + b(x2)' + c(x)' + (d)' = 3ax^2 + 2bx + c
Example 3 can be generalized as follows:
A polynomial of degree n has a derivative everywhere, and the derivative is a polynomial of degree (n - 1).
Example 4 Let

Find f '(x).
First we use the product rule, since f(x) is given as the product of x2 and x2 -x + 1: