# Question about limits involving 1/x

• docnet
In summary: I might find some things in math strange, but it's not sufficient to blame math when it doesn't agree with intuition. ##\mathbb R## is not well ordered with respect to the natural...

#### docnet

Gold Member
Homework Statement
##\frac{1}{x}##
Relevant Equations
##\frac{1}{x}##
For values of ##x## such that ##x>0##, is ##\frac{1}{x}## bound above?

My reaction is that if ##x>0## then ##\frac{1}{x}## is defined because ##x\neq 0##. But, it is not bound above because ##x## can be taken arbitrarily close to ##0## and ##\displaystyle{\lim_{x \to 0}} \frac{1}{x} = \infty##

docnet said:
Homework Statement:: ##\frac{1}{x}##
Relevant Equations:: ##\frac{1}{x}##

For values of ##x## such that ##x>0##, is ##\frac{1}{x}## bound above?

My reaction is that if ##x>0## then ##\frac{1}{x}## is defined because ##x\neq 0##. But, it is not bound above because ##x## can be taken arbitrarily close to ##0## and ## $\lim_{x \to 0} \frac{1}{x} = \infty$##
Yes. And what is the question?

You can formally say: Given ##M > 0,## then for all ##0< x < 1/M## we get ##\dfrac{1}{x}>M##. This means that we can find a number ##1/x## which is greater than any boundary ##M.##

nuuskur, docnet and MatinSAR
docnet said:
Homework Statement:: ##\frac{1}{x}##
Relevant Equations:: ##\frac{1}{x}##

For values of ##x## such that ##x>0##, is ##\frac{1}{x}## bound above?

My reaction is that if ##x>0## then ##\frac{1}{x}## is defined because ##x\neq 0##. But, it is not bound above because ##x## can be taken arbitrarily close to ##0## and ##\displaystyle{\lim_{x \to 0}} \frac{1}{x} = \infty##
##\displaystyle{\lim_{x \to 0}} \frac{1}{x}## is undefined
##\displaystyle{\lim_{x \to 0^+}} \frac{1}{x} = \infty##
Follow your teacher's instructions, but for questions like this I think you are better off using the actual definition of unbounded.

docnet
fresh_42 said:
Yes. And what is the question?

You can formally say: Given ##M > 0,## then for all ##0< x < 1/M## we get ##\dfrac{1}{x}>M##. This means that we can find a number ##1/x## which is greater than any boundary ##M.##
Kind of related to limits, how does one numerically/symbolicaly write "the smallest element greater than x"? Since the real numbers exist in a continuity, the intuition seems like there should be one single irrational number that is "touching x" like in the case of the integers, "x+1 is touching x"

docnet said:
Kind of related to limits, how does one numerically/symbolicaly write "the smallest element greater than x"? Since the real numbers exist in a continuity, the intuition seems like there should be one single irrational number that is "touching x" like in the case of the integers, "x+1 is touching x"
There is no such number. The set ##\{y \in \mathbb R: y > x \}## has no least member.

In other words, that is a set without a minimum. The number ##x##, however, is the infimum of the set. The infimum is also know as the greatest lower bound. Compare with supremum, which is the least upper bound.

These are absolutely critical concepts in standard real analysis.

Mark44 and docnet
PeroK said:
There is no such number. The set ##\{y \in \mathbb R: y > x \}## has no least member.

These are absolutely critical concepts in standard real analysis.
I understand why.. given a ##y>x##, you can always write a smaller number ##\frac{y-x}{2}+x > x##. This has been bothering me because math seems to be broken somehow. It's weird that a set of numbers has a lower bound, but not a minimum element.

docnet said:
I understand why.. given a ##y>x##, you can always write a smaller number ##\frac{y-x}{2}+x > x##. This has been bothering me because math seems to be broken somehow. It's weird that a set of numbers has a lower bound, but not a minimum element.
Even the rationals have that property. There is no least rational greater than ##0##, for example.

That one's easy, because ##0 < \frac m {2n} < \frac m n##.

Delta2
PeroK said:
There is no such number. The set ##\{y \in \mathbb R: y > x \}## has no least member.

In other words, that is a set without a minimum. The number ##x##, however, is the infimum of the set. The infimum is also know as the greatest lower bound. Compare with supremum, which is the least upper bound.

These are absolutely critical concepts in standard real analysis.
... and there is the axiom of choice. I even bought a book because it contains the equivalence proofs of the various versions. And it turned out to be a highly technical analysis book (Hewitt, Stromberg).

docnet said:
This has been bothering me because math seems to be broken somehow. It's weird that a set of numbers has a lower bound, but not a minimum element.
IMO, it's not math that's broken, but rather your concept of it is flawed. What you're describing is the difference between discrete sets such as the integers, which have uniform separations between adjacent members, versus sets such as the real numbers.

docnet said:
This has been bothering me because math seems to be broken somehow. It's weird that a set of numbers has a lower bound, but not a minimum element.
I might find some things in math strange, but it's not sufficient to blame math when it doesn't agree with intuition. ##\mathbb R## is not well ordered with respect to the natural order.

docnet said:
It's weird that a set of numbers has a lower bound, but not a minimum element.
Yes it is kind of weird, but that's why one of the axioms on the set of real numbers is that every bounded set has its infimum and supremum, but not necessarily minimum or maximum. So minimum or maximum are the infimum (or supremum) that also belong to the set.

For example if we consider the set $$Y(x)=\{y \in \mathbb{R}: y>x\}$$ it is infimum of Y(x)=x but the minimum doesn't exist because ##x## doesn't belong in ##Y(x)## as x>x doesn't hold. If we change its definition to $$Y(x)=\{y \in \mathbb{R}: y\geq x\}$$ then the infimum and minimum exist and they are equal to ##x##.

And no, it doesn't matter if the Y set is countable or uncountable, or x is rational or irrational. To see this consider the set $$Y=\{\frac{1}{n} ,n\in \mathbb{N}\}$$. The set Y is countable, n is integer, 1/n is rational but it doesn't have minimum either, the infimum is 0, but there is no ##n\in\mathbb{N}## for which $$\frac{1}{n}=0$$.

Last edited:

## 1. What is the definition of a limit involving 1/x?

A limit involving 1/x is a mathematical concept that describes the behavior of a function as the input approaches a specific value, typically infinity or zero. It is represented by the notation lim x→a 1/x, where "a" is the value that the input is approaching.

## 2. How do you evaluate a limit involving 1/x?

To evaluate a limit involving 1/x, you can use the following steps:

1. Substitute the value that the input is approaching into the function.
2. Simplify the resulting expression as much as possible.
3. Check if the simplified expression has a finite value or if it approaches infinity.
4. If the expression approaches infinity, the limit does not exist. If it has a finite value, that value is the limit.

## 3. What is the difference between a one-sided and two-sided limit involving 1/x?

A one-sided limit involving 1/x only considers the behavior of the function as the input approaches the specific value from one direction, either from the left or the right. A two-sided limit takes into account the behavior of the function from both directions and determines if the limit exists based on both approaches.

## 4. Can a limit involving 1/x have a negative value?

Yes, a limit involving 1/x can have a negative value. This can happen when the function approaches a negative value as the input approaches a specific value, or when the function approaches zero from the negative side as the input approaches infinity.

## 5. How is a limit involving 1/x used in real-life applications?

Limits involving 1/x are used in various real-life applications, such as in physics, economics, and engineering. For example, in physics, limits involving 1/x can be used to describe the behavior of a moving object as it approaches a specific point in space. In economics, these limits can be used to model the relationship between supply and demand. In engineering, they can be used to analyze the stability of a structure as it approaches a critical point.

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