INTRODUCTION TO ASYMPTOTES

DEFINITION asymptote
An ‘asymptote’ (pronounced AS-sim-tote) is a curve (usually a line)
that another curve gets arbitrarily close to as $\,x\,$ approaches $\,+\infty\,$, $\,-\infty\,$, or a finite number.

Rational functions usually have interesting asymptote behavior.

Asymptotes exhibited by rational functions come in different flavors:



horizontal asymptote

The dashed red line is horizontal.
The blue curve is getting
closer and closer
to this horizontal red line
as $\,x\rightarrow\infty\,$ and as $\,x\rightarrow -\infty\,$.
Thus, the red line is
a horizontal asymptote.


vertical asymptote

The dashed red line is vertical.
The blue curve is getting
closer and closer
to this vertical red line
as $\,x\,$ approaches a finite number
(from the right, and from the left).
Thus, the red line is
a vertical asymptote.


slant asymptote

The dashed red line is
not horizontal, and not vertical.
It is ‘slanted’.
The blue curve is getting
closer and closer
to this ‘slanted’ red line
as $\,x\rightarrow\infty\,$.
Thus, the red line is
a slant asymptote.


asymptotes that are not lines

The dashed red curve is not a line.
The blue curve is getting
closer and closer
to this red curve
as $\,x\rightarrow\infty\,$ and as $\,x\rightarrow -\infty\,$.
Thus, the red curve is
an asymptote that is not a line.

Vertical, horizontal and slant asymptotes are studied in more detail in the next few sections.
Master the ideas from this section
by practicing the exercise at the bottom of this page.

When you're done practicing, move on to:
introduction to puncture points (holes)
On this exercise, you will not key in your answer.
However, you can check to see if your answer is correct.
PROBLEM TYPES:
1 2 3
AVAILABLE MASTERED IN PROGRESS

(MAX is 3; there are 3 different problem types.)