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Unit 2

2.4 Connecting Differentiability and Continuity: Determining When Derivatives Do and Do Not Exist

2 min readโ€ขjune 7, 2020

Sumi Vora

Differentiability Rulesย ๐Ÿ“Œ

Most functions that you will see in this course are differentiable, which means that you can take their derivative. The exam, however, will likely throw in a few functions whose derivative does not exist. Here are the rules to make sure a function is differentiable at a certain point.ย 
First, the function must be continuous at that point. It makes sense that if a point doesnโ€™t exist on a function, you canโ€™t determine its instantaneous rate of change.ย โžก๏ธโžก๏ธโžก๏ธ
Second, if you calculate the derivative from the left, it should equal the derivative when calculated from the right. This is applicable to absolute value functions, which change directions suddenly. Since absolute value graphs are made up of two functions, the place where those two functions meet does not have a derivative.ย โžก๏ธ = โฌ…๏ธ

Differentiability Rulesย 

f(x) is differentiable at a if and only ifย 

  • f(x) is continuous at a

  • x a-f'(x) =x a+f'(x) as a real number

Example: Determine the range of values on f(x)= x+1 where f'(x) exists.
f(x) = { x + 1 ย  (-โˆž, -1)
x - 1 ย  (-1, โˆž)
lim x->-1(-) f'(x) = lim x->-1(-) (-1) = -1
lim x->-1(+) f'(x) = lim x->-1(+) (1) = 1
(since the derivative is the slope of the tangent line, the derivative of a line will simply be the slope of that line)ย  lim x->-1(-) f'(x) =/= lim x->-1(+) f'(x) Therefore, the derivative doesnโ€™t exist at x = -1
f(x) is differentiable at (-โˆž, -1) U (-1, โˆž) โ˜‘๏ธ

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