Skip navigation

It would seem that

Ax + By + C = 0

doesn’t really have a direction. Its just an infinite line, right?

WRONG.

take

-x + y = 0

This is the line through the origin, forming the line y = x.

1. Does this line have a direction?

2. Is there another line with a different equation that DESCRIBES THE SAME LINE?

Yes there is, to the second question, and YES IT DOES, to the first question.

The answer to 2.: The equivalent line is x – y = 0. That line is EXACTLY the same as -x + y = 0, only it “points” in the opposite direction.

So which “way” is -x + y pointing, and which way is x – y = 0 pointing?

Well, I’ll tell you.

x – y = 0 points “down and to the left”

-x + y = 0 points “up and to the right”

the reason for this is clear when you use vectors and the equations

A = y1 – y2
B = x2 – x1
C = x1y2 – x2y1

Then, if you use the points

P1 = (1,1)
P2 = (0,0)

You get the equation

A = 1 – 0 = 1
B = 0 – 1 = -1
C = 0

Then

x – y = 0
POINTS DOWN AND LEFT!!

And so, the opposite equation
-x + y = 0
POINTS UP AND RIGHT!!

On the “left side” of a line is +
On the “right side” of a line is –

Taking the one that goes up and right:
plug in ( 2, 0 )
-x + y = 0
-2 + 0 = -2

So, (2,0) is negative in that line equation, meaning (2,0) is “right” of -x + y = 0

Taking (-2,0)
2 + 0 = 2
so, (-2,0) is “left” of -x + y = 0

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: