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Algebra 2 i think

  1. Dec 22, 2004 #1
    Hello! I was wondering how one knows that the tangent of 270 degrees is undefined without graphing it? I know tangent=opposite/hypotenuse, but how can you find the length of the opposite leg and hypotenuse? gah, i'm so confused.
     
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  3. Dec 22, 2004 #2

    dextercioby

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    [tex]\tan 270^{\circ}=:\frac{\sin 270^{\circ}}{\cos 270^{\circ}}=\frac{\sin(90^{\circ}+180^{\circ})}{\cos(90^{\circ}+180^{\circ})}=\frac{\sin 90^{\circ}}{\cos 90^{\circ}}=\frac{1}{0} [/tex]
    ,which is undefined.

    Daniel.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2004
  4. Dec 22, 2004 #3
    Wow. I can't believe I've never been taught that before.. and ahh I feel stupid now. but thanks SO sososo SO much!!
     
  5. Dec 22, 2004 #4

    HallsofIvy

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    Strictly speaking, you can't use "opposite side divided by near side" to find the tangent of 270 degrees because a right triangle can't have a 270 degree angle!

    A more general definition is to think of this as on a coordinate system, measuring the angle counterclockwise from the positive x-axis, interpreting "near side" as the x coordinate, and "opposite side" as the y coordinate. A 270 degree angle would give a point on the negative y-axis with x= 0. Since we can't divide by 0, tan 270 is undefined.
     
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