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Defined Function

• Based on the symbol and property, perform the operation.


• The purpose of defined functions is to see how well you can adapt to unusual structures.
Once you realize that defined functions are evaluated and manipulated just as regular
functions, they become much less daunting.
• Based on the properties, performing the task.

Example 1:

If is defined to be , then what is the value of ?


(A) 2/3 (B) 1 (C) 3/2 (D) 2 (E) 3

Solution:
By the definition above, merely squares the first term. So .and
Forming the fraction yields
Hence, the answer is (B).

Example 2:

If x is a positive integer, define: if x is even; x = 4x, if x is odd. If k is a positive integer,


which of the following equals 2k 1 ?
(A) (B) k – 1 (C) 8k – 4 (D) (E) 8k – 1

Solution:
First, we must determine whether 2k - 1 is odd or even. To this end, let k = 1.
Then 2k - 1 = 2.1- 1 = 1, which is an odd number. Therefore, we use the bottom-half of the
definition given above. That is, 2k 1 = 4(2k - 1) = 8k - 4. The answer is (C).

Example 3:

For all a and b, define a # b to be . Then 2 # 3 =


(A) -10 (B) -5 (C) -3 (D) -1 (E) 0

Solution:
2#3= = = = 5. The answer is (B).

Example 4:
Let x = . If , then x =
(A) (B) (C) 2 (D) 4 (E) 8
Solution:
and . Substituting the values into the equation yields
Example 5:

For all real numbers x and y, let . What is the value of y that makes x #
y equal to -x for all values of x ?
(A) 0 (B) 2 (C) 5 (D) 7 (E) 10

Solution:

Setting x # y equal to -x yields

Canceling -x from both sides of the equation yields

Expanding the first term yields

Factoring out yields

Setting each factor equal to zero yields


Now, x2 + 1 is greater than or equal to 1 (why?). Hence,

Taking the square root of both sides of this equation yields y=0
Hence, the answer is (A).

Example 6:

is a function such that and for all a and b. Which of the following
must be true?
I. II. III.

(A) I only (B) II only (C) III only (D) I and II only (E) I, II, and III

Solution:
Statement I is true:

Since
1 Since
This eliminates (B) and (C). Statement III is true:

Since
Since

This eliminates (A) and (D). Hence, by process of elimination, the answer is (E).

Practice Questions
1. Define the symbol # by the following equations:
.

a) 4 # 12 =
(A) 4 (B) 7 (C) 8 (D) 13 (E) 64

b) If x # y = -1, which of the following could be true?


I. x = y II. x > y III. x < y
(A) I only (B) II only (C) III only (D) I and III only (E) I, II, and III

2. Define the symbol * by the following equation: x * = 2 – x , for all nonnegative x.


i) (a + b*)* =
(A) b – a (B) a – b – 4 (C) b – a + 4 (D) a + b – 2 (E) a – b

ii) If (2 - x)* = (x - 2)*, then x =


(A) 0 (B) 1 (C) 2 (D) 4 (E) 6

3. If x = (x + 2)x , for all x, what is the value of x + 2 – x – 2 ?


(A) -2 (B) x + 4 (C) 0 (D) (E) 8(x + 1)

4. For all numbers N, let N denote the least integer greater than or equal to N. What is the
value of 2.1?
(A) – 4 (B) – 3 (C) – 2 (D) – 1 (E) 0

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