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Absolute Value Inequalities

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Solving an absolute value inequality problem is similar to solving an absolute value equation.

Start by isolating the absolute value on one side of the inequality


symbol, then follow the rules below:
If the symbol is > (or >) :

(or)
If a < 0, all real numbers
will satisfy
.

If a > 0, then the solutions to

Think about it: absolute value is always


positive (or zero), so, of course, it is greater than
any
negative number.

are x > a or x < - a.


If the symbol is < (or < ) :

(and)
If a < 0, there is no
solution to
.

If a > 0, then the solutions to

are x < a and x > - a.


Also written: - a < x < a.

Think about it: absolute value is always


positive (or zero), so, of course, it cannot be less
than a negative number.

R E M E M B E R:
When working with any absolute value inequality,
you must create two cases.
If <, the connecting word is "and".
If >, the connecting word is "or".

To set up the two cases:

x<a

x > -a

Case 1: Write the problem without


the absolute value sign, and solve the
inequality.

Case 2: Write the problem without


the absolute value sign, reverse the
inequality, negate the value NOT
under the absolute value, and solve
the inequality.

Your graphing calculator can be used to solve absolute value


inequalities and/or double check your answers.

http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/math/algtrig/ATE2/absinequal.htm

How to use your


TI-83+ graphing
calculator with
absolute value
inequalities.
Click calculator.

09/09/2013

Absolute Value Inequalities

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Example 1: (solving with "greater than")


Solve:
Case 1:

Case 2:

or

Note that there are two parts to the


solution and that the connecting
word is "or".

x < 15 or x > 25

Example 2: (solving with "less than or equal to")


Solve:
Case 1:

Case 2:

and

Note that there are two parts to the


solution and that the connecting
word is "and".

also written as:

Example 3: (isolating the absolute value first)


Solve:
Case 1:

Case 2:

and

Note that the absolute value is


isolated before the solution begins.

also written as:

http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/math/algtrig/ATE2/absinequal.htm

09/09/2013

Absolute Value Inequalities

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Example 4: (compound inequalities)

Separate a compound inequality into two


separate problems.

Solve:
Case 1:

or

Case 2:

Case 1:

x > 4 or x < -6

Case 2:

and

-8 < x < 6

Now, where do the solutions overlap???

-8 < x < -6 as well as

4<x<6

Example 5: (all values work)


Solve:
Case 1:

or

Case 2:

x > -7 or x < -1
Answer:

Example 6:

You already know


the answer!
Absolute value is
ALWAYS positive
(or zero), so it is
always > -3.
All values work!

(no values work)

Solve:

http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/math/algtrig/ATE2/absinequal.htm

You already know


the answer!
Absolute value is
ALWAYS positive

09/09/2013

Absolute Value Inequalities

Case 1:

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Case 2:

(or zero). It is
NEVER < -6.
No values work!

and
x < -7 and x > 5 ???
Answer:
(the empty set)

Example 7:

(word problem)
The absolute value

At the Brooks Graphic Company, the average starting


salary for a new graphic designer is $37,600, but the actual
salary could differ from the average by as much $2590.
a.) Write an absolute value inequality
to describe this situation.

represents the set of all points x


that are less than b units away
from a.

b.)
Case 1:

b.) Solve the inequality to find the


range of the starting salaries.
and
Case 2:

Solution: a.)
|the difference between the average and the salary| < $2590

http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/math/algtrig/ATE2/absinequal.htm

$35,010 < x < $40,190

09/09/2013