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Math Help - Distance formula...which one is right?

  1. #1
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    Distance formula...which one is right?

    This is a basic question. Distance is defined mathematically by the square root of the squared difference between a and b. Then what do the expressions a-b and Ia-bI (absolute value) mean?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonintegral View Post
    This is a basic question. Distance is defined mathematically by the square root of the squared difference between a and b. Then what do the expressions a-b and Ia-bI (absolute value) mean?
    The distance between two points a~\&~b on a number line is \left| {a - b} \right|.

    The distance between two points in a plane (p,q)~\&~(r,s) is \sqrt {\left( {p - r} \right)^2  + \left( {q - s} \right)^2 } .

    Does that help?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    The distance between two points a~\&~b on a number line is \left| {a - b} \right|.

    The distance between two points in a plane (p,q)~\&~(r,s) is \sqrt {\left( {p - r} \right)^2 + \left( {q - s} \right)^2 } .

    Does that help?

    It helps a lot. Thanks.
    Last edited by nonintegral; August 8th 2009 at 01:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonintegral View Post
    It's helping. I know that \sqrt {\left( {a - b} \right)^2} is from the Pythagorean theorem. What I'm really not clear on is what \sqrt {\left( {p - r} \right)^2 + \left( {q - s} \right)^2 } means.
    I don't know what you mean about understanding?
    Please explain.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    I don't know what you mean about understanding?
    Please explain.
    Never mind, I wasn't getting it at first but when I looked back at my text it became clear.
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