Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Trigonometry - Tangent, SOHCAHTOA

So far, I've explained the concepts of Sine and Cosine... the third basic trigonometry function is TANGENT. If you've been following along and understanding those lessons, tangent isn't anything new for you. The tangent function of a right triangle relates an angle of the triangle to the ratio of its opposite side and its adjacent side. It does not refer to the hypotenuse at all. Referring to the same triangle we've been looking at, you can therefore see that:

TanB = b/a

In general terms, TanB = opposite/adjacent. We write "Tan" as the shorthand form for tangent.

Naturally, SOH CAH TOA helps us remember tangent as well. As you can probably guess by now, the "TOA" component stands for "Tangent is Opposite over Adjacent."

Again, try it out for yourself to see how all these functions work. See that in this triangle:

TanB = 3/4, so...
B = 36.87 degrees

These are the basic definitions for the standard trig functions, and they all work the same way to provide you with the same measurements for the angles or sides... the only things that are different are the sides that are being included in the ratios! So, pay attention to what sides you are looking at!


  1. We learned this as a sentence "Silly Old Harvey Chased A Hamster Through Our Assembly"

  2. we learned "Sex On Hard Concrete Always Hurts The Outer Areas"

    easy for teens to remember ^^

  3. Some Old Hippy Came A Hopping Through Our Apartment


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