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 Depdendent Variable

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 Dependent Variable

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# Graphing and Intercepts

• The selection of points to use when graphing a linear equation in two variables need not be random. Two points which are (generally) easy to get and also useful in applications are the horizontal and vertical intercepts. These both exist provided that the line in question is not horizontal or vertical.

Definition

The horizonal (or x-) intercept of a line (if it exists) is the point where the line crosses the horizontal axis.

The vertical (or y-) intercept of a line (if it exists) is the point where the line crosses the vertical axis.

Procedure: (Finding Intercepts)

To find the horizontal intercept, set the vertical variable to 0 and solve for the horizontal variable. (Most of the time, this means that you set y = 0 and solve for x .)

To find the vertical intercept, set the horizontal variable to 0 and solve for the vertical variable. (Most of the time, this means that you set x = 0 and solve for y .)

• There are two types of lines for which this does not work: horizontal lines and vertical lines . Luckily, horizonal and vertical lines are very easy to spot when given an equation.

Assuming that the horizontal variable is x and the vertical variable is y , then any vertical line has an equation of the form x = a and any horizontal line has an equation of the form y = b .

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