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Sometimes we can't find the actual value of a function directly, but we can see what it should be as we get closer and closer to that particular value. A limit is a value that a function (or a sequence) "approaches" as the input (or index) "approaches" some value.

Let’s understand this with an example.

Consider the function x^{2} - 1/ x - 1

We know that the given function is not defined when the value of x is 1, because division by zero is not a valid mathematical operation. So, we can find value as x approaches 1.

Let’s try approaching when x tends to 1.

From the above example, we can see that when x gets close to 1, then the value of x^{2} - 1/ x - 1 gets close to 2.

When x = 1, we don’t know the value (as it is indeterminate form). We can see that value gets close to 2. We can give answers as 2 but it is not the actual value. Hence the concept of the word “limit” came into existence.

The value of x^{2} - 1/ x - 1 as x approaches 1 is 2.

Something that is boundless or endless or else something that is larger than any real number is known as infinity. It is denoted by a symbol ∞.

Let’s understand with an example.

Find the value of one divided by infinity (1/∞).

Infinity is not a defined value. So, 1/∞ is similar to 1/smart.

We could say that 1/∞ = 0, but how it is possible because if we try to divide 1 into infinite pieces they can end up to 0 each. You may think about what happened to 1.

In fact, the value of 1/∞ is known to be undefined.

So, instead of trying to find it for infinity. Let’s try it for a larger value.

From the above table, we can see that as x gets larger, 1/x tends to 0.

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We can conclude two fact:

We can’t say what happens to x when it tends to infinity.

We can see that 1/x is getting close to 0.

Hence the limit of 1/x as x approaches infinity is 0. We can write it as

lim (1/x) = 0 when x approaching ∞.

In a mathematical way, we are not talking about when x = ∞, but we know the value as x gets bigger the value gets closer and closer to 0.

So, infinity can’t be used directly but we can use the limit.

How to find the limit of a function as x approaches infinity?

Let function be y = 2x.

So, from the above table, we can say that as x approaches infinity, then 2x also approaches infinity.

Don’t consider “=” sign as the exact value in the limit. We can’t actually get to infinity, but in limit language the limit is infinity.

Functions like 1/x approaches to infinity. This is also valid for 1/x

^{2}and so on.A function such as x will approach infinity, same we can apply for 2x or x/9, and so on. Likewise functions with x

^{2}or x^{3}etc will also approach infinity.We should be careful with negative functions like -x will approach -infinity. So we have to look at the sign of x and then decide the function value.

Let’s understand negative function value with an example:

Consider 2x^{2} - 4x

Sol: We know that 2x^{2} will tend towards +infinity and -5x will tend towards -infinity. But x^{2} value will be larger as compared to x. So 2x^{2} - 4x will tend to +infinity.

When we look for the degree of the function, check the highest exponent in the function.

The degree of function is divided into two parts:

The degree is greater than 0, the limit is infinity.

The degree is less than 0, the limit is 0.

A rational function is one that is the ratio of two polynomial functions.

Let f(x) = P(x)/Q(x)

P(x) = x^{3} + 2x - 1 and Q(x) = 3x^{2}

Now compare the degree of P(x) to the degree of Q(x).

If the degree of P is less than the degree of Q the limit value is 0.

If the degree of P and Q are the same divide the coefficient of terms with the largest exponent.

If the degree of P is greater than the degree of Q then two cases come.

The limit value is positive infinity.

Or maybe negative infinity. We need to look at the sign and then decide.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Infinity Limits?

Ans: Limits at infinity can be described as behaviour of the function as the independent variable increases or decreases without the bound. As we know that is not the actual value, we can only find function approaches that value.

2. Define the Additive Property of Infinity.

Ans: As per additive property, if anything or any number is added to infinity then the sum is also equal to infinity. As infinity is a huge number, adding or subtracting some value will not change any value resultant will also be infinity. Ex- 20 + ∞ = ∞.